Chronic wasting disease has been confirmed for the first time in a white-tailed deer harvested in Fairfax County, officials said Jan. 14.
An adult male deer harvested on private land in Vienna during this deer-hunting season has tested positive for the disease, they said.
The sample was obtained by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources from a taxidermist participating in statewide surveillance for the disease, and laboratory testing confirmed the positive result.
The deer in question was harvested and tested independently from the Fairfax County Deer Management Program, county officials said.
Given the likelihood that chronic wasting disease would spread to the local area and the implications it poses for deer conservation and management, wildlife-management staff from the Fairfax County Police Department, in collaboration with park ecologists and the state Department of Wildlife Resources, proactively have been conducting surveillance for the disease in Fairfax County since 2019.
Over the past four years, county staff have sampled and tested more than 750 deer harvested through the Fairfax County Deer Management Program. The majority of samples were taken from hunter-harvested deer through the county’s archery program.
County staff are working in close partnership with the Department of Wildlife Resources to determine any new rules or regulatory changes that will occur, testing options for hunters in the county program and on private property, and how this detection might affect local processors, taxidermists and Hunters for the Hungry donations.
For more information, visit dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd.