HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said Friday that three captive deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in the state, bringing the total to 49 since the disease was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2012.
The disease was confirmed in two white-tailed deer on a hobby farm in Greenfield Township, Blair County. These are the first CWD positives among captive deer in Blair County. The farm is now under quarantine.
A West Cocalico Township, Lancaster County, deer also tested positive. The deer was among a herd that was euthanized after a deer tested positive in February. It was the only positive result among 36 deer tested.
The department’s Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg tested the deer, which were later confirmed positive at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. The deer were tested as required by the department’s CWD program. Deer cannot be moved on or off these properties without permission from the department.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract CWD.
CWD attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal or contaminated environment.
Clinical signs 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.