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Two CWD infected deer were in Harpers Ferry National Park

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Park Service has confirmed two of the deer which recently tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Jefferson County were killed on the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

The West Virginia DNR recently confirmed the discovery of CWD in Jefferson County. The discovery was not a surprise since positive cases have been found in all neighboring counties in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. The NPS also confirmed positive cases of the disease have previously been detected at the Antietam and Monocacy National Battlefields in Maryland, but it was the first case at Harpers Ferry and the first case in a National Park Service unit in West Virginia.

According to an NPS press release, the two deer which tested positive were killed during a routine population reduction effort on the Park Service property. CWD monitoring has been ongoing for years, but it was the first discovery of positive cases by the Park Service. The two deer showed no physical signs of the disease, which typically does not manifest itself until the final stages.

The National Park Service policy recommends no consumption of deer infected with CWD, but there has been no evidence to suggest the disease can be passed to humans.

The NPS issued the following guidance to park visitors in its press release regarding the discovery:

     –If you see sick or dead wildlife, avoid contact with the animal and notify a National Park Service employee as soon as possible.
     –Most animals in parks are healthy and thrive in their natural environment, but sometimes wildlife can get sick just like people.
     –Always keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid touching or handling dead or sick wild animals. Some disease-causing organisms can be passed between wild animals and people.
     –National Park Service employees trained in wildlife health use specific protective measures to safely deal with a wild animal that may have died of disease.
     –It is recommended that people not eat any part of an animal that is suspected or confirmed to have CWD.

The release added whenever possible, the NPS donates all venison from its deer reduction operations to local food banks, consistent with NPS public health guidelines. All CWD positive meat is destroyed.

The NPS will continue to participate in monitoring of collected deer for CWD and will destroy venison testing positive for CWD, according to NPS guidelines.





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