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.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on the "Chronic Wasting Disease Information" button on the homepage.
Media contact: Samantha Elliott Krepps, 717-787-5085SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture