New disease management area spans Lebanon, Lancaster, Berks counties

Written by Maddie Crocenzi/The York Daily Record | Feb 28, 2018 6:43 PM

Disease management area four includes parts of Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties. The area is 346 square miles. (Photo: Pennsylvania Game Commission)

(Harrisburg) -- The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced a new disease management area Wednesday after two captive deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Lancaster County. 

The new DMA includes parts of Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties. It also includes state game lands 46, 220, 225, 274 and 425. 

The two captive deer that tested positive for CWD were part of a breeding operation in West Cocalico Township, according to LancasterOnline. That operation is under a quarantine.

This is the fourth DMA created in Pennsylvania. DMA 1, which has been eliminated, was established in 2012 after a captive deer tested positive in Adams County. DMA 2 and DMA 3, in southcentral and western parts of the state, are still active and could expand this year based on the return of 2017-18 testing results, communications director Travis Lau said during a news conference. 

Executive Director Bryan Burhans called CWD an "insidious disease" that will impact both hunters and citizens in DMA 4.

In DMAs, people cannot feed deer, possess or use urine-based attractants while afield or remove high-risk parts such as the head and backbone from the area, according to Lau. All known roadkill are also picked up and collected for testing. 

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease that impacts deer, elk and moose. It results in starvation, eventually leading to death. It is highly contagious and can spread through both direct and indirect contact among deer. 

The game commission said there is no way to test live deer, and there is no known cure. 

Wayne Laroche, special assistant for CWD response, said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised individuals not to eat CWD-positive deer. He said deer with the disease will drool, shake, appear emaciated with drooping ears and poor coordination. However, not all deer show these physical signs of the disease. 

The commission will offer testing sites within the DMA for hunters to drop off high-risk parts and get their deer tested for free. These testing sites are included in the estimated $1.3 million Laroche said they have has invested to fight CWD this year. 

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record. 

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