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Hunter-Killed Elk Test Negative for CWD and Other Diseases
Date:2/10/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Samples taken from the 39 hunter-killed elk during the state's 2008 hunting season have all tested negative for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to Dr. Walt Cottrell, the Pennsylvania Game Commission's wildlife veterinarian. Samples also tested negative for brucellosis and tuberculosis.

Cottrell noted that the Game Commission still is awaiting the results of CWD testing for the 4,247 hunter-killed deer samples collected during the 2008 rifle deer season.

"Currently, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of CWD-infected deer or elk in Pennsylvania," Cottrell said. "Conducting these tests on hunter-killed deer and elk will help to assure us and the general public that it is unlikely that CWD currently is present in wild deer and elk in the state.

"We obviously need to keep a watchful eye on our wild and captive deer and elk. Working closely with the state Department of Agriculture and other agency representatives on the state's CWD Task Force, we hope to protect our state's herds from this always-fatal disease."

CWD tests on the elk samples were conducted by the New Bolton Center, which is the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary diagnostics laboratory. Under a contract with Penn State University, the elk samples also were tested for brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis and found to be free from these diseases. New Bolton Center also is conducting the CWD tests on the deer samples. Results are expected later this spring.

"The test results are good news," Cottrell said. "Although CWD has not been found in Pennsylvania, we must continue to be vigilant in our CWD monitoring efforts. The surveillance information we are gathering is important for the early detection of CWD, and we already are planning to continue random testing of hunter-killed deer and elk during the 2009-10 sea
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission
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