Recent laboratory tests conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife & Heritage Service confirm there is no evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Maryland. Tissue samples collected from 1,106 deer during the 2009-2010 Maryland deer hunting seasons revealed no signs of the disease. Additional samples collected from sick or injured deer also tested negative for CWD. Over 6,700 Maryland deer have been tested and confirmed as CWD-free since 2002.
“CWD surveillance remains an agency priority and is essential to maintaining a healthy deer herd,” said George Timko, DNR’s Assistant Deer Project Leader. “DNR biologists and technicians will continue to collect and test tissue samples from hunter-harvested deer as well as from sick and injured deer.”
CWD is a neurological disease that is fatal to white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family. Similar to mad cow disease in cattle, the disease attacks the brain and spinal cord of deer and is believed to be caused by prions, rogue proteins that destroy healthy tissue. CWD is not known to be transmissible to humans.
CWD was first identified in 1967 at a Colorado research facility. Since then, CWD has been found in 18 states and two Canadian provinces. CWD has not been found in white-tailed deer or sika deer in Maryland.
Additional CWD information is available on the DNR website and on the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website www.cwd-info.org.