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Deer Test Positive For Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania

Posted by Jennifer Smith on 16th Jan 2017, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced Friday a captive deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease, marking the first new case in a captive deer farm since 2014.

The 4-year-old deer was harvested from a hunting preserve in Franklin County in November. Samples from the animal tested positive for CWD at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg.

The deer was raised on a farm in Fulton County until it was sold to the Franklin County facility in August. Both farms are under quarantine and an investigation will continue, making it possible that more herds could be quarantined.

“We are working to minimize the risk to Pennsylvania’s deer herd by quarantining both farms and tracing any contacts with other deer in our efforts to find the source of CWD, if possible,” Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said in a press release. “We want to stress that CWD is no danger to public health and has never been associated as a human health concern.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract CWD.

The disease attacks the brain of infected moose, elk and deer, producing small lesions that in time result in death. The disease can be spread through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from infected animals.

There is no known treatment or vaccine for CWD.

The first cases of the disease in Pennsylvania were detected when two Adams County deer tested positive in 2012.

As part of surveillance for the disease that has been going on since 1998, the Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from harvested deer and elk, as well as those that appear sick or show abnormal behavior.

“When all of those samples are returned, we will make our decision on how the boundaries of existing Disease Management Areas will change. At that time, we could implement special rules regarding the feeding and hunting of deer in parts of Franklin County where this new CWD case has been detected,” Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said Friday in a release.

For more information, search “chronic wasting disease” at

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