In optical burst-switched networks, one of the most significant issues is contention resolution. There have been several deflection routing techniques as contention resolution. While contention is resolved by traditional deflection routing, it cannot guarantee that the control packet will reserve all the wavelengths successfully to the destination on the alternate path, especially when traffic load in a network is high. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a Deflection Routing with Virtual Wavelength Assignment (DR-VWA) algorithm in order to provide a higher resource guarantee for loss-sensitive traffic bursts. The proposed DR-VWA scheme (1) dynamically decides the alternate path with the least traffic load and (2) allows high-priority bursts in terms of loss to be assigned available wavelengths over the path virtually. The proposed scheme is evaluated through simulation, and it is shown that significant improvement with regard to burst loss and wavelength conversion cost can be achieved. © 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.