The spread of a fatal disease for deer continues

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Apr 21, 2014 4:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A disease that kills deer has spread in Pennsylvania, and that's forcing the state Department of Agriculture to quarantining some farms.

Chronic Wasting Disease can wipe out entire populations, which is why farms are immediately placed on lockdown when its discovered.

The first cases in the state popped up in Adams and York counties in 2012, and five farms in the region remain quarantined.

No deer can be moved to or from any farm under quarantine.

"It's a 5 year old white tailed deer. It died on a deer farm in Jefferson County, it was tested positive for the disease at the Pennsylvania Vet Lab in Harrisburg," says Samantha Krepps with the Department of Agriculture.

The agency and the state Game Commission acknowledge once Chronic Wasting Disease arrives, it's nearly impossible to eradicate it.

The Game Commission conducts random testing to try to get a sense of the disease, which can spread for 11 months from an infected animal.

"The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from hunter harvested deer. Since 1998, the Commission has tested more than 38,000 deer and free range elk for the disease. Four deer have tested positive for the disease in 2013," adds Krebbs.

The Game Commission says most of the state's deer herd remain healthy.

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