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Chronic Wasting Disease found in deer in state

February 17. 2013 9:40AM
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The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed on Thursday the first positive case of Chronic Wasting Disease in the state on a deer farm in Adams County, on the Maryland border.

The disease is fatal in deer, elk and moose, but there is no evidence it can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization.

The positive sample was taken from a white-tailed deer at 1491 New Chester Rd., New Oxford, and tested as part of Pennsylvania's CWD monitoring efforts. The sample tissue was tested at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg and verified at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

Samantha Krepps, press secretary for the department of agriculture, said the Adams County deer was a captive animal that had died. The farmer sent the deer to be tested due to symptoms it displayed before it died, she said.

In addition to the Adams County location, the department has quarantined two farms directly associated with the positive deer at 6464 Jacks Hollow Rd., Williamsport, Lycoming County, and 61 Pickett Road, Dover, York County. The quarantine prevents movement of animals on and off the premises and the other two farms were included because deer were moved to those locations from the Adams County site.

Krepps said there are no reports of deer escaping into the wild from any of the quarantined farms.

Jay Delaney, a commissioner with the state Game Commission representing the northeast region, said that as of Thursday there is no indication the disease is present in wild deer in the state.

"To date CWD has not been found in Pennsylvania's wild deer population," said Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe. "Concerns over CWD should not prevent anyone from enjoying deer hunting and consuming meat from healthy animals."

Roe said hunters should shoot only healthy-appearing animals, and take precautions like wearing rubber gloves when field-dressing their deer and washing thoroughly when finished.

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