In a follow-up on a report earlier this year on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania, state agriculture officials are reporting third case of CWD in a captive deer farm in four months.

Fawn whitetail deer. Image/Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Fawn whitetail deer. Image/Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The five-year-old white-tailed deer died on a farm in Fulton County in April 2017 – the same premises on which it was born and raised. Samples from this deer tested positive for the disease at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg. The test results were confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, on April 28, 2017.

“This positive case shows not only that CWD is still a threat to our deer herd, but, just as important, that our surveillance and disease response program works,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We will continue to work with deer farmers and sportsmen to protect the health of Pennsylvania’s deer, and find ways to keep CWD from spreading further into Pennsylvania.”

Chronic Wasting Disease attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals in those species can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal.

Symptoms include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk also may allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.

There is no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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