Agriculture Department to Test ‘Pink 23’ Adams County Escaped Deer
Harrisburg – A doe that escaped from a quarantined Adams County deer farm in October was shot by a hunter Nov. 26 and is now being tested for Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
The deer, known as “Pink 23’’ because of its pink farm tag, was shot and killed this morning on a farm at 1305 New Chester Road, New Oxford. The doe escaped as officials removed the herd for testing from a farm at 1491 New Chester Road, New Oxford.
Both farms have been quarantined since October when the first case of the disease was discovered in Pennsylvania.
“The department has been working to prevent further spread of the disease,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “The capture and testing of this escaped deer will allow the department to close this chapter of the investigation.”
State veterinarians identified the doe by its pink farm tag. Testing for Chronic Wasting Disease will be done at the Pennsylvania State Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg and will take up to two weeks.
To date, two deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. As a result, the agriculture department quarantined 27 farms in 14 counties associated with the herd where the deer that tested positive for the disease were found. Deer cannot be moved on or off those quarantined premises.
Chronic Wasting Disease attacks the brains of infected antlered animals such as deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal.
There is no evidence that humans or livestock can get the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.
Surveillance for the disease has been ongoing in Pennsylvania since 1998. The agriculture department coordinates a mandatory monitoring program for more than 23,000 captive deer on 1,100 breeding farms, hobby farms and shooting preserves. The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk and those that appear sick or behave abnormally. Since 1998, the commission has tested more than 38,000 free-ranging deer and elk for the disease and all have tested negative.