Additional deer farms released from chronic wasting disease quarantines

Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture on Feb. 8 announced quarantines have been lifted on 14 additional deer farms after DNA testing confirmed these farms had no ties to two Adams County deer that died of Chronic Wasting Disease in October 2012.

To ensure the safety of Pennsylvania’s farmed and wild deer, the department took precautions and issued quarantine orders on 34 deer farms between October and December of 2012.

This decision was based on evidence from records kept by the Adams County farm where the first positive deer, known by its farm tag as Yellow 903, originated. The deer farm records indicated that Yellow 903 was born on a Lycoming County farm.

To ensure the accuracy of those records, the department sent DNA samples from Yellow 903 and several deer that records indicated were related for testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

DNA tests results received this week showed conclusively no family relationship between any of the deer, one of which was reported to be Yellow 903’s mother.

These results confirm that Yellow 903 did not originate from the Lycoming County farm named in the Adams County farm’s records. Because the 14 farms were connected to the Lycoming County farm and not the Adams County farm, they have been released from quarantine.

Nine farms are still under quarantine by the Department of Agriculture. Those farms remaining are all directly connected to the Adams County farm where both positive deer were found. The department is developing deer herd management plans for these farms.

An interagency Chronic Wasting Disease task force remains in place to address the threat of the disease to Pennsylvania’s captive and wild deer populations and includes the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Health, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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