Pennsylvania: Game Commission to take Public Comments on Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan

Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States

On September 12, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) released a draft of a document aimed to direct the Commission’s management of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

CWD is a progressive, fatal, degenerative neurological disease occurring in cervids such as deer, elk, and moose. The disease was first recognized in 1967 as a clinical 'wasting' syndrome of unknown cause in mule deer in Colorado, and has now been detected in both free-ranging and farmed populations in 26 states. Because the disease has a long incubation period, deer, elk, and moose infected with CWD may not present any visible signs of the disease for a number of years after they become infected. As the disease progresses, deer, elk, and moose with CWD show changes in behavior and appearance. These clinical signs may include progressive weight loss, stumbling, tremors, lack of coordination, blank facial expressions, excessive salivation and drooling, loss of appetite, excessive thirst and urination, listlessness, abnormal head posture, and drooping ears.

Brian Burhans, Executive Director of the PGC stated “Hunters are essential to CWD management. Without the effort they put in hunting and harvesting deer, and submitting samples from the deer they harvest in CWD areas, our collective fight to slow CWD’s spread and limit the disease where it exists in Pennsylvania would be all the more an uphill battle...”

A public comment period for the Plan will remain open through February 29, 2020. For more information, including the specifics of the Plan itself and instructions on how to submit comments please visit the PGC’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov.

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