Ohio, Pennsylvania wildlife officials remind hunters of Chronic Wasting Disease


CWD affects many animals including white-tailed deer, no evidence shows it can be spread to humans

(WKBN) – Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) affects deer, elk, moose. It develops in the lymph nodes, spinal tissue and brains of the animal.

On Dec. 10, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife found a positive case in a deer in Wyandot County, which is two counties south of Sandusky, and just north of Marion County.

Hunters that harvest deer in Wyandot County will be asked to submit disease samples of harvested deer until Feb. 7 for testing. Along with that, the Division of Wildlife will conduct testing on deer within a 10-mile radius of where the positive deer was harvested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t found evidence that CWD can spread to humans.

The issue is impacting animals in Pennsylvania, too.

“The Department of Health is committed to a healthy Pennsylvania,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a press release. “There is a lot we still need to learn about the impact CWD has on human health. That is why it is essential that each individual remains vigilant to reduce the risk of human exposure to CWD.”

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said in a press release that managing CWD is one of the greatest wildlife challenges they face.

“It requires that we marry the best science with hunter cooperation over the long term,” Burhans said. “The good news is that wildlife managers and hunters partnered to save deer and deer hunting once before, more than a century ago. Our ability to succeed again now is dependent on the support of our hunters and private landowners to help us combat this disease.”

Hunters can prevent the spread by depositing high-risk parts appropriately and double bag them, do not aim for or handle an animal that seems sick, instead report the animal, submit harvest tags and samples, wear gloves, avoid use of natural urine-based lures.

“CWD threatens one of Pennsylvania’s prized natural resources,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a press release. “This administration has taken aggressive steps to contain the disease through a scientific, fact-based approach. We are using new genetic testing tools to help predict which deer will contract the disease, funding research to help better understand and trace the disease and working together strategically to control its spread.”

According to a press release from ODNR Division of Wildlife, CWD has been found in 26 states and four Canadian provinces and was first discovered in the 1960s in the western U.S.

To have a sample tested in Ohio for a fee contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at (614) 728-6220.

For more efforts about combating CWD in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/CWD and click here for the full report on CWD in the state.

Ohioans visit wildohio.gov for more on Ohio’s CWD surveillance.

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