Virginia detects three more cases of CWD among deer that were tested. How many more go undetected each year?
CWD or Chronic Wasting Disease, is limited to the deer family. It was first identified as early as 1967 and was classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in 1978. The disease is progressive and always fatal, with the most predominant symptom being weight loss. When a deer is observed with symptoms such as lowering their head, lethargy, repetitive walking in set patterns, or they smell like meat starting to rot they may be infected with CWD. The disease is thought to be transmitted through saliva and bodily excrement but also can be transmitted by eating grass growing in contaminated soil.
In Virginia the disease was first publicized in 2005 in West Virginia’s Hampshire County in 2005 and was again detected in Hardy County in 2010.
This past season, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said the disease was detected in Shenandoah County, Virginia in a buck that was killed by a vehicle near the Frederick County line. Two bucks shot by hunters in eastern Frederick County near the West Virginia border were then tested positive for CWD.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says it plans to change the boundary of the current chronic wasting disease containment area for the 2015 hunting season. Next year the containment area will include the entire counties of Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren, and Clarke.
Deer taken in the “containment area” undergo mandatory testing. Deer that are discovered dead from means other than hunting are also tested by state officials. Any other deer that are killed by hunters are likely not tested since there is no mandatory testing requirement.