The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has suspended the importation of farmed cervids (deer, elk, moose, etc.) from Pennsylvania after the first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) was identified on Oct. 11.

BOAH veterinarians have begun the process of identifying and locating deer imported into Indiana from the Adams County, Pa., facility where the CWD-positive 3-year-old farm-raised deer was housed. Imported deer must be tested for the disease.

Conservation Officers from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff have provided assistance to BOAH.

More information will be made available as the investigation progresses, and further herd trace details are reported from Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture.

Chronic wasting disease is one of a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encepalopathies, a variant of scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

The disease is fatal in deer, elk and moose, and can be spread among animals through body fluids. There is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Pennsylvania is the 23rd state to have a confirmed case of chronic wasting disease and the 13th state to have it only in a captive deer herd.

CWD was first discovered in Colorado captive mule deer in 1967.

In 2002, Indiana created a monitoring program to detect the presence of CWD. Department of Natural Resources biologists annually obtain tissue samples from random hunter-harvested deer throughout the state. Outwardly noticeable sick deer reported to the DNR also have been tested, and collection of random samples from road killed deer began in 2007.

CWD has not been detected in more than 12,200 deer during this monitoring period.

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