Chronic Wasting Disease Discovered In Pennsylvania Deer Population

The Game Commission expanded its contamination zone after a road-killed deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in South Central Pennsylvania.

An adult female deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Diseases in South Middleton Township in Cumberland County, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGA) to expand Disease Management Area (DMA) 2 into more of Cumberland, Adams, and York counties. 

According to the PGA, “the new boundary line for DMA 2 follows Route 134 north from the Maryland line for about 4 miles to the intersection of US Route 15, then follows Route 15 north for 36.4 miles, crossing Route 581 where it becomes Route 11. It then follows Route 11 for 2.4 miles to where it meets the west shore of the Susquehanna River at Front Street. The boundary follows the Susquehanna River north for about 15.1 miles to Route 22.” There are currently fifteen CWD Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) areas. A fifty percent increase from 2021. See current DMA maps at

CWD is a neurological disease caused by a misfolded protein called a prion and is always fatal to deer and elk. CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) spread through saliva, urine, feces, infected carcasses, and animal-to-animal contact. It is similar to mad cow disease, scrapie, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. CWD remains infectious for decades once prions contaminate the soil. While there is no evidence that humans or other species can be infected with CWD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not eating CWD-positive deer meat.

The PGA requires hunters within the DMA to take additional precautions to slow the spread of the disease. It is unlawful to:

  • Remove or export any deer or elk high-risk parts (e.g., head, spinal column, and spleen) from a DMA or EA.
  • Use or possess deer or elk urine-based attractants.
  • Directly or indirectly feed wild, free-ranging deer. It is already illegal to feed elk regardless of DMA location.
  • Rehabilitate wild, free-ranging deer or elk.

For more information about CWD or to ask questions, contact the Game Commission’s CWD Hotline at 1-833-INFOCWD, email or visit