Pennsylvania’s luck at keeping Chronic Wasting Disease at bay has run out, its aggressive surveillance program has found a case on an Adams County deer farm.
The positive sample came from a white tailed deer at a farm in New Oxford. As a result, the state has also quarantined two other farms directly associated with the infected deer, in Williamsport, Lycoming County and Dover, York County.
Steps are being taken to prevent further spread of the disease. A task force will carry out a response plan, including education and public outreach.
CWD is fatal in deer and other cervids but there is no evidence it can be transmitted to humans. Pennsylvania is the 23rd state to detect the disease. It was already present in the neighboring states of Maryland, New York and West Virginia. To date, CWD has not been found in the wild deer population in Pennsylvania.
State veterinarian Dr. Craig Shultz says they are tracking this infection. He says staff has been working to identify any links to the animal diagnosed and other herds of captive deer as well as the locations the deer had been in before it became ill.
Hunters are being told to continue best practices of handling deer with gloves and field dressing the animals. The Game Commission is looking at the case and deciding whether to designate a disease management area.
The state Agriculture Department regulates the farm cervid industry. The Pennsylvania Game Commission regulates wild, or free roaming deer.