Chronic wasting disease detected in Fairfax Co. deer

A progressive and fatal illness known as chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has been detected in a legally harvested adult male deer, according to a news release from Fairfax County Police and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

This is Fairfax County’s first CWD-positive detection and has triggered an extensive forensic investigation to confirm its harvest location, according to the news release.

The deer, brought to a taxidermist in October 2022, initially appeared to be in good condition. The DWR obtained the sample shortly after as part of its statewide CWD surveillance efforts.

The disease is known to affect deer, elk, and moose; to date, it has not affected humans. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources strongly recommends that hunters get deer tested at one of several locations in Loudoun and Fairfax County.

Over 750 deer have been tested in Fairfax County since 2019, with just one positive result, according to the news release. A total of 134 cases of CWD were discovered by the department between 2009 and 2022.

CWD has been confirmed in at least 29 states, Canada, northern Europe and South Korea. No regulatory changes will be made until the end of the deer hunting season.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

Dana Sukontarak

Dana Sukontarak is a Digital Writer/Editor for She loves haiku poetry, short sci-fi stories and word games. She grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and currently lives in Silver Spring.

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