BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A white-tailed deer on a hunting preserve in Warren County, Pennsylvania recently tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
"Remaining deer were euthanized and CWD was not detected in any of the samples. The department has quarantined the preserve for five years. Contact tracing to determine any further exposure is in progress and may necessitate additional quarantines," a release says.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture CWD is a highly contagious disease that develops very slowly in the lymph nodes, spinal tissue and brains of deer and similar animals like reindeer and elk. It does not affect other livestock and to date there is no evidence that it can be spread to humans. You can learn more about CWD on the CDC website here.
Krysten Schuler, a wildlife disease ecologist with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center, has expressed concern and says a thorough investigation is required to be sure it did not infect wild deer in New York.
Chronic wasting disease has increasingly plagued state wildlife and agricultural agencies with no sustainable solution in sight. New York state is the only state to have eliminated CWD after it was detected in the wild in 2005 and has taken pre-emptive risk minimization actions to prevent the introduction of the disease in recent years, including banning importation of live captive deer and intact deer carcasses.
This recent discovery will require additional surveillance on both sides of the border to determine if the disease breached the fence and is present in wild white-tailed deer. Hunters can help by supporting the wildlife agency response and knowing CWD regulations. CWD is universally fatal to infected deer, so it is critical for people not to spread the disease further through our activities.