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White-tailed deer tests positive for CWD in Bedford Co.

Pennsylvania Game Commission says deer meat is safe to eat

By Jackalyn Kovac

BEDFORD COUNTY, Pa. --- A deer killed along Interstate 99 in Bedford County in November was tested for chronic wasting disease.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Game Commission received the results in late December confirming the deer was infected.

The confirmation is the fourth case in the state since it was first seen in 2012.

The sick deer was harvested within the boundaries of one of Pennsylvania's two disease management areas.

The 900-sqaure-mile area in Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties is montiored by the game commission.

Wildlife Conservation Officer William Brehun says local hunters shouldn't be worried about the sickened game.

"Hunting is permitted in that area and it's actually encouraged," said Brehun. "There is nothing that changes for the hunting allowed in that area. Hunters need to be aware that we are trying to restrict the spread of this disease as much as we can."

Those who hunt in that area are asked to dispose of the possibly infected deer parts, including the brain and spinal column. Officers say meat harvested from the deer is fine to eat.

"There is no known case of CWD affecting human consumption, but if your deer does appear to be sick or unhealthy in anyway, don't eat the meat," said Brehun.

More than 5,000 samples have been collected and tested -- 1,000 from each DMA and 3,000 from across the state.

More results from the additional tests could be released in late January.

Officials say they believe they will be able to control the affected area.

"If a deer is harvested in a DMA, it is important to keep the brain and spinal column so the high-risk parts, where the disease is carried, stays in that area," said Brehun.

There is no way of knowing if a living deer is infected and there is no cure.

If you want to have a deer tested, contact the Department of Agriculture.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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