In an announcement made by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, a reported 27 deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease at a captive breeding facility in Bedford County. The herd of over 200 animals was under quarantine by the department after a whitetail deer died on the farm back in February.
During the quarantine period, none of the 215 animals exhibited any signs of the deadly disease but the decision was made to euthanize the entire herd at the end of June.
“We are working directly with captive-deer herd managers to educate them on risk factors and to do whatever possible to safeguard their herds,” State Veterinarian Dr. David Wolfgang said. “Increased surveillance both in and outside fences is paramount, along with employing management strategies, such as uniformly restricting movement of high-risk parts, managing the density and age of captive herds, and considering secondary barriers to prevent direct contact between captive and wild deer.”
After euthanizing the animals, they were sent for testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The department and the USDA were given the results last week, indicating the presence of the disease in 27 of the tested deer.
While there is no strong evidence to suggest that humans or livestock can contract the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend consuming the meat of any infected animal.