With majority of samples yet to be analyzed, Pennsylvania’s CWD tally at 51
Pennsylvania’s statewide deer seasons have come to a close, and within the next several weeks, final chronic wasting disease test results will return from deer harvested by hunters in the 2017-18 seasons.
At this time, 51 deer from the 2017-18 hunting seasons have tested positive for CWD. All have been within the state’s Disease Management Areas. Forty-eight were within DMA 2, in southcentral Pennsylvania; and three were within DMA 3 in northcentral Pennsylvania.
But the majority of samples collected still are being analyzed, and final CWD test results from the 2017-18 deer seasons will be released when available, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The Game Commission collects samples from deer harvested across the state and tests them for CWD, as part of the agency’s ongoing CWD surveillance. Within the state’s DMAs – where the disease has been detected in captive and free-ranging deer – intensified sampling occurs, the Game Commission said in a news release Friday, Jan. 19 announcing the numbers and continued testing efforts.
Successful hunters within DMAs dropped off heads from more than 1,500 deer in the boxes. About 1,000 of these samples already have been tested for CWD, with the results reported to hunters.
Additionally, Game Commission staff collected more than 3,000 other samples within DMAs to test for CWD. In total, nearly 8,000 samples were collected statewide. Slightly more than 5,700 whitetails were tested for CWD in 2016; 25 tested positive, all were in or near DMA 2, the only area of the state where CWD has been detected in the wild.
Wayne Laroche, the Game Commission’s special assistant for CWD response, said the agency will continue to assess the incoming test results to evaluate the best response to confront CWD where it exists. DMA boundaries regularly have been adjusted in relation to newly detected CWD-positive animals. And last year, the Game Commission teamed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a CWD surveillance effort where 30 deer were removed by sharpshooters and one CWD-positive deer was detected.
CWD first was detected in Pennsylvania in 2012 at a captive deer facility, and it was detected in free-ranging deer soon after. To date in Pennsylvania, CWD has been detected in 98 free-ranging deer.