Just west of York County in south-central Pennsylvania lies Disease Management Area 2 (DMA 2), or ground zero for chronic wasting disease in the state.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed twelve additional white-tailed deer had been infected with chronic wasting disease in 2015.  The state now has a total of 22 confirmed cases of the disease from free-range deer since 2012 and the most recent findings will result in a few changes to DMA 2.

Officials are expanding the size of the area by more than 437 square miles with hopes of both alerting hunters and containing the disease.

“This is the one disease that has the potential to drastically change deer hunting as we know it,” said Game Commission Wildlife Management Director Wayne Laroche.

The twelve cases from 2015 came after over 1,600 samples that were collected from deer in DMA 2, after stepping up sampling efforts within the area with hopes of increased monitoring and giving the Commission the ability to estimate the prevalence of CWD across the townships in the area.

Even with the twelve cases recorded, the prevalence of the disease is still quite low, at around 0.75 percent, but the Game Commission wants to keep the pedal to the floor, ensuring additional controls are implemented to contain the spread of the disease.

“One thing we know is we will not be successful without the support of deer hunters and the general public,” Laroche said. “If we fail to develop and implement an effective control program, we risk the future of deer hunting along with all of the social and economic benefits that wild white-tailed deer and elk provide to the people of Pennsylvania.”


H/T: York Dispatch