A deer that escaped from an Adams County, Pennsylvania quarantine zone tested negative for chronic wasting disease, slightly decreasing fears that the disease could spread to the state’s wild deer population.
CWD was first identified in mule deer at a Colorado wildlife research facility in the 60s. Transmitted through abnormal proteins, known as prions, typically found in the central nervous system, the disease is progressive and universally fatal. Initial symptoms include weight loss, listlessness, and blank facial expressions.
The confirmation of CWD in Pennsylvania brings the total number of states affected by the illness to 23.
The illness is not communicable to humans (as Mad Cow Disease is) and appears to only effect the deer, elk, and moose population.
The discovery of CWD on a state deer farm triggered the state’s CWD response plan. During a routine depopulation at the infected farm, a deer escaped the barricade. Many farmers and agricultural officials were worried that the breakout could lead to CWD spreading to the state’s wild deer population.
The recent test has dimmed these fears slightly, although many farmers and agricultural officials remain convinced that it is only a matter of time until the disease spreads.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer