Wildlife officials confirm Tazewell Co. deer had chronic wasting disease

TAZEWELL COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — An adult male deer harvested in Tazewell County, Virginia in November has been confirmed as the county’s first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

According to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), the deer was taken to a taxidermist in December. The department obtained a sample from the deer soon after as part of its statewide CWD surveillance.

The DWR noted there were no outward signs of CWD when it was harvested, and it appeared to be in good condition.

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“As this deer was harvested a substantial distance from any previous CWD detections and could significantly alter deer management actions in Tazewell and nearby counties, DWR conducted an extensive forensic investigation,” the department stated in a press release.

CWD is an incurable disease found in deer, elk and moose. The neurologic disease eventually leads to the animal’s death after causing symptoms like staggering, weight loss, confusion, drooling and abnormal posture. It is spread through urine, feces and saliva to other animals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone who harvests deer from a known CWD area test it before eating it.

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On Thursday, the DWR stated it was working to figure out the best course of action to address the CWD in Tazewell County. When that plan is determined, it will be shared with the public.

The DWR has monitored CWD in Virginia since 2002, with the first case detected in Northern Virginia in 2009. Wildlife officials manage two disease management areas in the northern part of the state.

In 2020, the DWR confirmed CWD in Montgomery County, marking a southern spread. The department has conducted CWD surveillance across the state for the past xis years to head off any spread of the disease.

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