Pennsylvania Elk Still CWD Free

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Samples taken from the 41 hunter-killed elk during the state's 2010 hunting season have all tested negative for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and tuberculosis, according to Dr. Walt Cottrell, the Pennsylvania Game Commission's wildlife veterinarian.

Cottrell noted that sample collection was greatly facilitated by the tremendous cooperation of the elk hunters and taxidermists. He added that the Game Commission still is awaiting the results of CWD testing for the hunter-killed deer samples collected during the 2010 rifle deer season, and will announce those results once received.

"Currently, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of CWD-infected deer or elk in Pennsylvania," Cottrell said. "Conducting these tests on hunter-killed deer and elk is one part of the Game Commission's ongoing efforts to monitor wild deer and elk populations for the presence of CWD.

"We obviously need to keep a watchful eye on our wild and captive deer and elk. Working closely with the state Department of Agriculture and other agency representatives on the state's CWD Task Force, we hope to protect our state’s wild cervids from this fatal disease."

CWD tests on the elk samples were conducted by the New Bolton Center, which is the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary diagnostics laboratory. Under a contract with Penn State University, the elk samples also were tested for brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis and found to be free from these diseases.  New Bolton Center also is conducting the CWD tests on the deer samples.  Results are expected later this spring.

To learn more about CWD, visit the agency's website www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on the "Wildlife" in menu bar in the banner, then choose "Wildlife Diseases" and click on "Chronic Wasting Disease."