News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Deer Test Negative for Chronic Wasting Disease

Annapolis, MD. (May 21, 2010) – 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 at http://www.dnr.md.gov/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/deer/disease/cwdinformation.asp and on the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website www.cwd-info.org.


   May 21, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov