Public Meeting Set for Pennsylvania CWD Info

To outline steps to monitor the state’s wild deer populations for the presence of chronic wasting disease, officials from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and state Department of Agriculture will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m., in the Bermudian Springs High School auditorium, 7335 Carlisle Pike, York Springs, Adams County.

Staff from the two agencies will provide background information on CWD, offer an update about deer farming operations and discuss the potential management challenges should CWD be found in wild deer populations.

Last week, the state Department of Agriculture confirmed the first case of CWD in Pennsylvania in a captive deer on a deer farm in Adams County. The disease is fatal in deer, elk and moose, but there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization.

“While CWD has not been found in wild deer, we will continue to be vigilant and initiate steps included in the Commonwealth’s CWD Response Plan, which has been updated annually since its development in 2005, and calls for the agency to hold a public meeting,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director.

“We will identify a disease management area (DMA), and specify the monitoring efforts we will put in place within the DMA to determine if CWD has spread from the captive deer populations into surrounding wild deer populations.

“We are hopeful this disease has been identified early enough and that we can take steps to contain the disease to these specific deer farms. However, we are at the beginning of a process that will last at least five years. The Game Commission is developing a DMA map and executive order delineating the where and what monitoring efforts will be undertaken for this hunting season. Both will be released as soon as they are finalized.”

On Oct. 11, the Department of Agriculture announced that the positive sample was taken from a captive-born and raised white-tail deer at 1491 New Chester Rd., New Oxford, and tested as part of Pennsylvania’s intensive 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.

In addition to the Adams County location, the Department of Agriculture has quarantined two farms directly associated with the positive deer at 6464 Jacks Hollow Rd., Williamsport, Lycoming County, and 61 Pickett Rd., Dover, York County. The quarantine prevents movement of animals on and off the premises.

Roe noted that, since 1998, the Game Commission has gathered and submitted more than 38,000 samples from wild deer and elk for CWD testing, and all results have been negative.

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