Chronic Wasting Disease in Maryland White-Tailed Deer: 2010–2022

Allegany County Cases

  • Land Code 230: 0 positive tests
  • Land Code 231: 31 positive tests
  • Land Code 232: 9 positive tests
  • Land Code 233: 78 positive tests
  • Land Code 234: 0 positive tests

Washington County Cases

  • Land Code 250: 25 positive tests
  • Land Code 251: 17 positive tests
  • Land Code 252: 7 positive tests

Frederick County Cases

  • Land Code 270: 0 positive tests
  • Land Code 271: 1 positive test
  • Land Code 272: 0 positive tests
  • Land Code 273: 1 positive test
  • Land Code 274: 1 positive test

Carroll County Cases

  • Land Code 310: 0 positive tests
  • Land Code 311: 0 positive tests
  • Land Code 312: 1 positive test

Summary

  • Total Positive Cases: 171
  • Note: Public land harvests are accounted for under corresponding private land codes.

Chronic Wasting Disease in Maryland

Disease Overview

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a neurodegenerative disease affecting cervids, including elk, moose, mule deer, reindeer, and white-tailed deer. It is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy that produces brain lesions, leading to fatality. The Department of Natural Resources has been actively monitoring CWD, detecting the first case in November 2010. Over 13,300 deer have been tested, with 171 cases identified in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties.

Safety Measures for Hunters

Hunters are advised to take precautions while handling and processing deer to minimize the risk of CWD transmission. While there is no evidence of human transmission, the following measures are recommended:

  1. Avoid Sick-Looking Deer:

    • Refrain from shooting or handling deer that appear sick.
  2. Protective Gear:

    • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing or butchering deer.
  3. Organ Removal:

    • Remove all internal organs during field dressing.
  4. Meat Processing:

    • If home processing, remove meat from bones and spinal columns.
    • Avoid using household knives for field dressing.
  5. Disinfection:

    • Disinfect tools, especially if cutting through bones or the spinal column.
    • Use a 50/50 solution of household chlorine bleach and water.

Management Measures

Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area (CWDMA) Rules:

  • Restrictions on transporting whole deer carcasses or parts from the CWDMA.
  • Exceptions for specific items like meat, hide, antlers, and finished taxidermy mounts.

Carcass Importation Ban:

  • Restrictions on importing carcasses or parts from designated CWD areas in other states.
  • Mandatory reporting of positive test results for imported cervid carcasses.

Travel Guidelines:

  • Travelers passing through Maryland with carcasses from CWD management areas are subject to time limits and restrictions.

Hunter Cooperation:

  • Hunter assistance and cooperation are crucial for monitoring and managing CWD in Maryland.
  • Regularly check the Department of Natural Resources website for updates on CWD surveillance.

Cross-Border Considerations

Outbound Carcass Transport:

  • Maryland hunters must adhere to the carcass importation regulations of neighboring states.
  • Check regulations for Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia before transporting deer carcasses.

Conclusion

Hunters are encouraged to stay informed, follow guidelines, and cooperate with the Department of Natural Resources in managing and preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Maryland. Regularly check the official website for updates and additional information: Maryland DNR - CWD.

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