The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries initiated a surveillance and monitoring program for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in free ranging White-tailed deer in October of 2002. Hunter harvested deer were sampled by collecting the head and taking brain and lymph node tissue samples. A total of 1047 deer heads were collected from hunters from every county in the Commonwealth. The number collected per county ranged from a low of 2 to a high of 26. The number per county was based on the average harvest over the past 3 years. Samples were also collected from six elk harvested in the southwest portion of the state.

Samples were sent to the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study lab in Athens Georgia for testing. Results are pending.

Each hunter who contributed a head for testing will receive notification of the test results. A general explanation of the overall results will be reported on this site as soon as they are received. The department would like to thank all hunters who assisted in the sampling procedure.

The surveillance and monitoring program will continue through early January with the collection of samples from deer that are reported as being emaciated or acting abnormally.