Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Although Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has never been found in the state's deer and elk population, the Pennsylvania Game Commission believes it is important to test these animals for the brain degenerative disease. Testing begins this week, during the state's deer hunting season. The disease has been found in animals across 14 states, including West Virginia and New York. Game Commission spokesperson Jerry Feaser says there is currently no cure for the disease, and there is no practical way to test living animals. Also, Feaser says it is not transmissible to humans. The testing is done in attempts to contain the disease, rather than letting it run wild. The Game Commission has conducted tests on almost 19,000 hunter-killed deer and elk in Pennsylvania over the past six years. This year's testing plans to test approximately 4,000 deer heads for CWD. Feaser says test results are to come out in early 2009. If anybody sees a sickly-looking deer with CWD symptoms, such as lowered ears, uncoordinated movement, excessive drooling and weight loss, Feaser suggests calling the Game Commission's South Western Regional Office at (724) 238-9523 to file a report.