HARRISBURG, Penn. – A white-tailed deer that was struck and killed by a car in Bedford County, Penn. tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
CWD has been found in south-central Pennsylvania. The Game Commission already has established perimeters around the sites where CWD was detected previously called Disease Management Areas (DMAs). Special rules apply to hunters and residents within the DMAs, which created in part to contain and slow the spread of the disease.
There are two DMAs in Pennsylvania, according to the Game Commission. The buck, which tested positive Dec. 24, died within what is known as DMA 2, a 900-square-mile area that includes parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties. Officials said new CWD case shouldn't affect the shape or size of the DMA.
"It's not as if we hope to find CWD positives as we continue our ongoing surveillance," Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said. "But the fact is that each test result that comes back – positive or negative – gives us a clearer picture of how prevalent the disease is, and monitoring for CWD is an important part of our efforts to manage its spread."
The first positive case of CWD was detected at a deer farm in Adams County. Since then, three free-ranging deer taken by hunters during the 2012 season – two deer in Blair County and one in Bedford County – tested positive for CWD. CWD is fatal in deer, elk and moose, but there is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the World Health Organization. However, CDC recommends people or other animals do not eat any part of an animal diagnosed with or showing signs of CWD.
The disease should not prevent deer hunting or consumption of meat from healthy deer.
"That's a point that shouldn't be lost," Roe said. "While we will continue to monitor for CWD and keep a watchful eye on test results, the simple fact CWD has been detected in Pennsylvania shouldn't keep anybody from enjoying deer hunting, or venison from healthy deer, as they always have.”