RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — The discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in multiple deer across Tennessee is prompting Virginia to bar the import of any deer carcasses from our neighbors to the southwest.
According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), 10 deer in Fayette and Hardeman Counties tested positive for the fatal neurological disease.
Effective Friday, December 21, the entire state of Tennessee has been declared a Carcass-Restriction Zone.
That means no whole deer carcacces or certain parts of deer can be brought from Tennessee into Virginia. The only deer parts allowed include: boned-out or quartered meat, hides or capes with no skull attached, cleaned skulls or skull plates with no attached tissue (with or without attached antlers), clean antlers, or finished taxidermy products.
Blocking the importation of deer carcasses helps minimize the risk of the disease spreading into new parts of Virginia. In the commonwealth, it was first diagnoses in 2009 and was found in northern parts of the Shenandoah Valley, including Frederick and Shenandoah counties. This is the first time it's been ever found in Tennessee.
In the fall of 2018, the VDGIF sampled over 1,300 deer in the CWD Containment Area and is working to confirm all the testing results.
The disease is caused by abnormal infectious proteins called prions that can be spread through saliva, feces, urine, and through water or soil contaminated with prions.
It's been found in 26 states and four Canadian provinces. It ultimately kills every animal it infects, through they may appear normal for an extended period of time.
Deer infected with the disease show symptoms like staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.
There's no evidence it can be spread to livestock, pets, or humans, but the VDGIF strongly advises against eating any meat from a CWD-positive animal.
If you see a deer displaying any of the associated symptoms, do not disturb or kill it, but call the DGIF Wildlife Conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003 with accurate location information.
More information on CWD can be found on the DGIF website dgif.virginia.gov/cwd/.