HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has confirmed the state’s second positive case of Chronic Wasting Disease on a deer farm in Adams County. Other deer on the farm that were tested did not have the disease.
The second deer, a white-tailed buck, tested positive at 1491 New Chester Rd., New Oxford. This is the same location of the state’s first infected deer in October.
In addition to the New Oxford farm, the agriculture department quarantined 27 farms in 16 counties associated with the positive samples. Deer cannot be moved on or off quarantined properties.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission established a disease management area (DMA) surrounding the Adams County farm where the deer tested positive. As part of that plan, hunters may not move high-risk deer parts out of the area, including parts of the head and spinal column.
“Since the first positive deer was found in Pennsylvania last month, the Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force has put in place aggressive measures to prevent further spread of the disease,” Agriculture Secretary George Greig said. “This positive deer was found because of those efforts, and we will continue our work to protect the state’s captive and wild deer populations.”
The Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force meets weekly and carries out a response plan, including education and outreach through public meetings and minimizing risk factors through continued surveillance, testing and management. Task Force members are from the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture, Health and Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey/Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Penn State University.
Hunters who harvest a deer within the DMA during the two-week firearms deer season (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) are required to bring their deer to a mandatory check station so samples can be collected for testing.
For the convenience of hunters, all cooperating deer processors within the DMA boundaries will be considered check stations. The Game Commission will be gathering samples from hunter-killed deer at those processors.
A list of cooperating deer processors and taxidermists from within the area will be announced and posted on the commission’s Web site.
Hunters who harvest a deer within the DMA and who process their own deer, or who would like to take their deer to a processor or taxidermist outside of the management area, can visit the Game Commission operated check station. It is located at the agency’s maintenance building on State Game Land 249, 1070 Lake Meade Road, East Berlin, Adams County. GPS coordinates for the building are -77.07280 and 39.97018.
Game Commission check station hours during the two-week rifle deer season are from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, but will remain open as needed. The check station will be closed on Sunday, Dec. 2.
Deer harvested outside of the management area will not be eligible for testing at the check station; however, hunters may get their deer tested by the Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg, for a fee. Interested hunters should call 717-787-8808.
Chronic Wasting disease attacks the brains of infected antlered animals such as deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal.
There is no evidence that humans or livestock can get the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.
Surveillance for the disease has been ongoing in Pennsylvania since 1998. The agriculture department coordinates a mandatory monitoring program for more than 23,000 captive deer on 1,100 breeding farms, hobby farms and shooting preserves. The Game Commission collects samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk and those that appear sick or behave abnormally. Since 1998, the commission has tested more than 38,000 free-ranging deer and elk for the disease and all have tested negative.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on the “Chronic Wasting Disease Information” button on the homepage.