12 more cases of chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania

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chronic wasting disease

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Game Commission during 2015 found 12 additional white-tailed deer infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD) – all in Disease Management Area 2 (DMA 2), located in southcentral Pennsylvania.

DMA 2 is the only area of the state where CWD has been detected in free-ranging deer.

The latest cases bring to 22 the total number of free-ranging deer found with CWD within DMA 2 since 2012. This is the highest number of cases to be found in a single year, and more than doubles the total number of CWD-positive deer found in the wild in Pennsylvania.

These new cases have resulted in changes to DMA 2’s boundaries, increasing the size of the DMA by more than 437 square miles. A map showing the latest expansion to DMA 2 has been posted online and will be included in the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest that’s issued to hunters at the time the buy their licenses. However, hunters are reminded that future CWD cases could further impact DMA 2’s boundary, and the most up-to-date maps always can be found at the Game Commission’s website.
Special rules regarding the hunting, transport and feeding of wild deer apply within all DMAs, and are detailed in full online.

One of the new cases was found in a deer harvested by a hunter. It serves as an example of why hunters need to be taking the DMA restrictions seriously. The hunter in the case transported a buck that later tested positive for CWD from DMA 2 to a deer processor far outside of the DMA, and the high-risk parts went to a rendering plant.

Transporting a deer out of the DMA is illegal. By leaving behind those parts with the highest-risk of transmitting CWD to other deer, hunters limit the chances the disease will spread to new areas of the state. The hunter in this case, which has been adjudicated, also failed to report the deer as required by law.

Hunters need to be taking CWD seriously. To do otherwise, risks spreading the disease to deer and elk in other parts of Pennsylvania. In the early stages of infection, CWD tends to spread and increase very slowly in wild deer populations. This might cause hunters to have a false sense of security, and take the presence of the disease lightly.