Chronic Waste Disease in Deer

Chronic Waste Disease
Posted on 09/20/2019
Chronic Waste DiseaseCWD update in PA
By Cole Lucas
Staff Writer
[email protected]

In the past two years Chronic Wasting Disease has started to overwhelm the Pennsylvania deer and elk population.

What is Chronic Wasting Disease? It is a contagious disease that can spread among the population of elk, white tailed deer, caribou, and moose. This disease has a 100% fatality rate. Once an animal is infected, it will spread throughout its entire body until the disease has completely covered it.

In 2017, 27% of free range deer in Dauphin and Perry county had some trace of CWD in their system. In the same year, scientists tested 7,910 white tailed deer and 128 elk for CWD. Last year in 2018, another study was done. 123 additional whte tailed deer tested positive for CWD.

Right now there is no cure for this deadly disease. Scientists are working on some kind of antidote to insert into the white tailed deer gene pool so that it can spread around the population and hopefully start curing this disease.

Spotting CWD in deer is not difficult. There is a strong visible sign that can be seen from even far distances. The disease can be all over the body of the deer or elk. It looks like black round spots on the body, they can grow on top of each other growing outward. There are some cases where the deer or elk can show no sign of CWD on the outside. That is why it is hard for scientists to identify the amount of animals with this disease because the animal does not show visible signs.

Hunters who end up killing a deer that has visible signs of CWD  should call a game warden or someone from the game commission so they can log the deer and test  for CWD. Eating a an animal with CWD can make the consumer very sick. 

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