The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has confirmed a case of chronic wasting disease in a deer harvested in Loudoun County during archery season last month.
The deer was located less than 10 miles from the closest previous detection in Clarke County and less than 2 miles from the West Virginia border. Although no cases of the fatal neurological disease that strikes deer, elk, and moose had previously been reported here, Loudoun County is included in DWR’s Disease Management Area 2, where the spread of the disease is being monitored. That area includes Loudoun, Fauquier, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Orange, Madison and Page counties.
According to the DWR website, CWD is caused by abnormal infectious proteins called prions that can pass between deer through saliva, feces, urine, and through contaminated water or soil. The disease poses as serious concern for Virginia white-tailed deer population, although it has not been shown to pose a health risk to humans or domestic animals. While there is no evidence that CWD can infect humans, experts advise not eating the venison from CWD-positive deer.
DWR’s surveillance and management efforts are aided by hunters, taxidermists, processors, and others who submit samples of harvested deer at collections sites for testing. The information is used to track the infection rate and map its spread.
Information on nearby voluntary CWD testing collection sites can be found at dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/voluntary-chronic-wasting-disease-testing-in-disease-management-area-2. Best management practices for hunters, taxidermists, and processors, and additional information about CWD can be found on the DWR website at dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd.