National Park Service Says Three Deer Found At Area Parks Have Chronic Wasting Disease

There’s no evidence it affects humans.

Washington DC (KM) Three white-tailed deer in two area parks have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. The National Park Service says two of those deer were found at Antietam National Battlefield, and one was located at Monocacy National Battlefield.

This follows recent white-tailed deer reduction operations and disease samplings in both parks.

The Park Service says this is the first time Chronic Wasting Disease has been detected at Antietam and Monocacy, but it’s been in Maryland since 2010.

As part of an effort to reduce the deer population and restore native plants, promote health and diverse forests and preserve historic landscapes. the Park Service says it conducts deer reduction operations to bring down the numbers of deer.   All deer taken down by Park Service personnel are tested for chronic wasting disease. All tests had been negative until this year, the Park Service says.

Chronic Wasting Disease results from a malformed protein in the body which accumulates in the brain and can cause neurological signs, emaciation and death. There is no evidence it affects humans.

Visitors to national parks who see sick or dead wild animals are strongly urged not to touch them, but contact a Park Service employee. They are trained in wildlife health, and use protective measures to safely deal with a wild animal which may have died from a disease.

The National Park Service says most wildlife in the parks are healthy and thrive in their natural environment. But sometimes these animals can get sick just like humans. Visitors are urged to keep a safe distance from wildlife, and stay far away  from sick or dead animals. Some disease causing organisms can pass between wild animals and people.

By Kevin McManus