In late May, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced the discovery of a positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in a white-tailed deer on a hunting preserve in Warren County. That has led the Pennsylvania Game Commission to establish a new Disease Management Area in the county.
Per PDA’s regulations, the hunting preserve was depopulated and will be under quarantine for a period of five years. Testing did not reveal any further positive cases. Contract tracing is being performed to determine if any further quarantines are needed.
CWD affects members of the deer, or cervid, family, and the disease always is fatal to the deer and elk it infects.
In response to the new case of CWD, the PGC set up DMA 5, denoting that it is the fifth such DMA created in the state. The new DMA covers 212 square miles and is entirely within Warren County. The northern border runs along 18 miles of the New York state line from Busti Road to the western bank of the Allegheny River. The southern border of the DMA roughly follows Route 6 between Youngsville and the Allegheny River at Warren.
Within a DMA, it is unlawful to remove or export any high-risk parts of deer, use or possess cervid urine-based attractants, feed wild deer or rehabilitate wild deer. It is already illegal to feed elk in all parts of the state.
Those planning to hunt or take deer within a DMA need to follow the regulations for the upcoming deer season. Deer carcasses cannot be moved outside the DMA with high-risk parts attached. High-risk parts include: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and any lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; and any parts with brain or spinal tissue present. The PGC offers free CWD testing within all DMAs. While there is no evidence of CWD being documented in humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend consuming the meat of a CWD-positive animal.