DEEP reminds hunters of wasting disease precautions

With the recent confirmation of Chronic Wasting Disease in a Pennsylvania deer, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection today reminded hunters of the ban on importing intact deer carcasses from areas such as Pennsylvania and New York that have positive confirmation of the disease into Connecticut.

To prevent the possibility of this disease entering Connecticut, regulations were adopted in 2005 making it illegal for anyone to import, process or possess whole carcasses or parts thereof from deer, elk, or moose from states and Canadian provinces where the disease has been found. The only exceptions to the regulations are meat that is deboned, cleaned skull caps, hides without the head, or finished taxidermy mounts.

To date, Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in wild or captive deer or elk in 22 states: Colorado; Iowa; Illinois; Kansas; Maryland; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; New Mexico; New York; North Dakota; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Dakota; Texas; Utah; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; and Wyoming; and two Canadian provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a contagious neurological disease fatal to deer, moose, elk, and other members of the deer family. Since Connecticut began testing in 2003, nearly 5,000 deer have tested negative for the disease. Currently, Connecticut is testing only deer or moose displaying symptoms of disease. In advanced stages, infected animals begin to display abnormal behavior, such as staggering or standing with very poor posture, and carrying the head and ears in a lowered position. In later stages of the disease, infected animals become emaciated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization, there is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans. However, as a precaution, public health officials recommend that humans avoid consuming meat from deer suspected of being infected with Chronic Wasting Disease.

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