News

Events Teach About Chronic Wasting Disease

September 25, 2018

Release # 56-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 7, 2018

For Information Contact:

Travis Lau

717-705-6541

trlau@pa.gov

EVENTS TEACH ABOUT CWD

To help the public better understand chronic wasting disease and what it means for Pennsylvania’s deer and deer hunting, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is taking part in several informational events across the three areas of the state where the disease has been detected and special rules are in place. To date, the following events are scheduled:

Saturday, Sept. 8 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Clearfield County, 6 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question and answer session. Hyde Fire Company; Clearfield, PA.

Tuesday, Sept. 18 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Jefferson County, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about Chronic Wasting Disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Brookville Heritage House; Brookville, Pa.

Wednesday, Sept. 19 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Clearfield County, 6 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about Chronic Wasting Disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Mahaffey Fire Hall; Mahaffey, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 20 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Sullivan County, 7 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question and answer session. DCNR Forestry Building; LaPorte, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 20 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Lebanon County, 6:30 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question and answer session. Myerstown Rod & Gun Club; Myerstown, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 20 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Lackawanna County, 5 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question and answer session. Dickson City Borough Hall; Dickson City, Pa.

Friday, Sept. 21 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Indiana County, 6 p.m.to 8:30 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about Chronic Wasting Disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Marion Center Park Hall; Marion Center, Pa.

Saturday, Sept. 22 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Jefferson County, 9 a.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question and answer session. Jefferson County Fairgrounds; Brookville, Pa.

Wednesday, Sept. 26 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Cumberland County, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. During the event, hunters and non-hunters have the opportunity to visit the informational stations at their own pace. Game Commission staff will be present at each station to answer additional questions. Shippensburg Fish and Game Club; Shippensburg, Pa.

Thursday, Sept. 27 – Chronic Wasting Disease Open House; Jefferson County, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CWD open houses are designed as stations to be self-navigated at your own pace with agency staff on hand to answer questions about Chronic Wasting Disease. Feel free to arrive at any time. Brockway High School; Brockway, Pa.

Thursday, Oct. 18 – Chronic Wasting Disease Presentation; Lancaster County, 6 p.m. This presentation will consist of expert speakers followed by a short question and answer session. (Location to be determined); Denver, PA.

Additional programs could be scheduled and, if so, they’ll be added to Upcoming Events page at the Game Commission’s website.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) first appeared in Pennsylvania in 2012, when it was detected in deer at a captive facility in Adams County, then a few months later, in free-ranging deer in Blair and Bedford counties. It since has been detected in dozens more captive and free-ranging deer.

When CWD is detected in a new area, the Game Commission responds by designating a Disease Management Area (DMA) within which special rules apply regarding the hunting and feeding of deer. As new cases emerge near a DMA boundary, those DMAs are expanded to encompass larger areas.

Since last year at this time, a new Disease Management Area – DMA 4 – has been established in parts of Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counites, while the previously existing DMA 2 and DMA 3 have been expanded.

DMA 2 now totals more than 4,614 square miles and includes parts of Juniata, Mifflin and Perry counties, in addition to all or parts of Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.

Meanwhile, DMA 3 has been expanded to more than 916 square miles. It now includes parts of Armstrong, Cambria and Clarion counties, as well as parts of Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties.

Maps and turn-by-turn descriptions of DMA boundaries can be found on the CWD page at the Game Commission’s website.

“When CWD is detected in new areas, and new DMAs are designated or existing DMAs expanded, hundreds of additional people who might never have heard of the disease before suddenly need to become familiar with the special rules that apply within DMAs,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “This is one of the things that makes educating the public about CWD a challenge, and we hope to reach as many people as we can through these newly scheduled informational events.”

First identified in 1967, CWD affects members of the cervid family, including all species of deer, elk and moose. It can be passed from one animal to another by direct contact, or indirectly when a healthy animal comes in contact with the prion that causes CWD, which is shed by infected animals.

DMAs serve to limit CWD’s spread. Hunters who harvest deer within DMA are prohibited from transporting the deer outside the DMA unless they first remove the carcass parts with the highest risk of transmitting CWD.

The meat, hide and antlers attached to a clean skull plate may be removed from a DMA.

High-risk parts are: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes, and lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone (vertebra); spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord material is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord material is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft material is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord material; and brain-tanned hide.

The use or field possession of urine-based cervid attractants, and the feeding of deer also are prohibited within DMAs.

To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the disease is always fatal to the cervids it infects.

As a precaution, CDC recommends people avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or that test positive for CWD.

There currently is no practical way to test live animals for CWD, nor is there a vaccine. Clinical signs of CWD include poor posture, lowered head and ears, uncoordinated movement, rough-hair coat, weight loss, increased thirst, excessive drooling, and, ultimately, death.

Much more information on CWD can be found at www.pgc.pa.gov.