Add Maryland to the list of states with confirmed cases of
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the wild deer population.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received
laboratory confirmation on February 10, 2011 that a white-tailed
deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting
disease (CWD). This is the first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland.
A hunter in Allegany County reported taking the deer on November
27, 2010 in Green Ridge State Forest. Maryland is now one of 20
other states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer,
elk or moose.
“Our team of wildlife professionals has been preparing for this
result for some time so we are well-informed and ready to limit the
impact of this event,” said Paul Peditto, Director of DNR’s
Wildlife and Heritage Service. “We have sampled intensively for
this disease since 2002 and see this as an unfortunate but somewhat
inevitable outcome. The good news is that our preparation and
planning ensure a sound scientific foundation for our response to
this single positive test result. With the continued cooperation of
hunters, farmers, deer processors and landowners who have supported
our monitoring effort, we will manage this deer disease consistent
with the best available science and with minimal impact on our deer
population and the people who enjoy these great animals.”
“Concerns over CWD should not stop anyone from enjoying
venison,” added Peditto, who explained that only four species of
the deer family are known to be susceptible to CWD: elk, mule deer,
moose and white-tailed deer. Of these, only the white-tailed deer
occurs in the wild in Maryland and there are no reported cases of
transmission to humans or other animals.
As always, hunters are advised to exercise caution and never
consume the meat of sick animals. Hunters are also advised to avoid
contact with the brain, spinal column or lymph nodes of deer – all
of which are normally removed during the butchering process.
This is the first positive sample out of nearly 6,800 deer
tested in Maryland since 1999. From 2002 until 2009 that sampling
occurred statewide. In 2010, sampling efforts were focused on
Allegany and western Washington counties due to the presence of
positive cases in nearby West Virginia and Virginia. West Virginia
first detected CWD in Hampshire County in 2005 and it was found in
Frederick County, Virginia in early 2010.
“Maryland will continue to work closely with the wildlife
professionals in our adjacent states to share information and
coordinate response efforts. However, our primary goal is to ensure
the public is fully-informed and knows what we know when we know
it. We want to be certain that every interested Marylander
understands this disease and recognizes that there is no risk to
people, pets or domestic livestock. As in every other state with
CWD, we will respond appropriately while ultimately learning to
live with this disease with little impact to our wildlife or
citizens,” Peditto concluded.
For more information on CWD in Maryland and the DNR Response
Plan, click here.