The Pennsylvania Game Commission is encouraging hunters harvesting deer in Lancaster County to have them tested for CWD.
A captive-raised deer that recently tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) will result in a southward expansion of Disease Management Area 4 (DMA 4) in 2020.
The exact adjusted boundary for DMA 4 will not be announced until next year, after the close of hunting seasons and completion of further CWD surveillance.
But the new CWD-positive deer will place most of Lancaster County within DMA 4.
Even though DMA 4 will not expand until next year, the Game Commission is asking for hunters’ help now.
Hunters who harvest deer in Lancaster County can help enhance CWD surveillance by submitting their deer heads in collection containers provided by the Game Commission.
There are several head-collection containers within DMA 4 and the Game Commission will provide additional containers within DMA 4 soon. To find head-collection containers within any DMA, visit the interactive map accessed through the CWD page at www.pgc.pa.gov.
Deer heads submitted by hunters help the Game Commission determine the infection rate and spatial distribution of CWD. Hunters also benefit by knowing whether CWD is detected in the deer they harvest. While CWD is not known to affect people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends never consuming the meat of CWD-positive animals.
Hunters also can help prevent the spread of CWD by limiting the movement of and properly disposing of high-risk deer parts. High-risk parts where CWD prions (infectious agent) concentrate include: the head (more specifically the brain, eyes, tonsils, and lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; and any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord material.
Hunters are asked to properly dispose of these parts by double-bagging them and allowing a commercial trash service to take them to a lined landfill.
CWD is a deadly brain disease that affects members of the deer family. CWD can be transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments. CWD-infected deer can shed prions or misfolded proteins, into the environment through saliva, urine, and feces. Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for CWD.
For more information on CWD, please visit www.pgc.pa.gov or call 1-833-INFOCWD.
Information for this story was provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.