WASHINGTON, DC — Two deer at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  A press release from the National Park Service indicates the two deer were from the Jefferson County area of the park.

The discovery was made during white-tail deer reduction operations and subsequent testing for disease.

“This is the first CWD-positive detection at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park,” according to the press release. “Two nearby national parks in Maryland – Antietam and Monocacy national battlefields – also recently received their first CWD-positive test results earlier this year.”

Harpers Ferry and other national parks in the area reduce deer populations to protect and restore native plants, promote healthy and diverse forests, and preserve historic landscapes. Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia national parks conducting deer reduction operations participate in CWD monitoring programs for wildlife health. Until this year, all results for these parks had been negative.

There is currently no evidence that CWD can infect humans. However, it is recommended that tissues from CWD-infected animals not be eaten. The venison from the deer that tested positive for CWD was destroyed.

Guidance to park visitors

If you see sick or dead wildlife, avoid contact with the animal and notify a National Park Service employee as soon as possible.
Most animals in parks are healthy and thrive in their natural environment, but sometimes wildlife can get sick just like people.
Always keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid touching or handling dead or sick wild animals. Some disease-causing organisms can be passed between wild animals and people.
National Park Service employees trained in wildlife health use specific protective measures to safely deal with a wild animal that may have died of disease.
It is recommended that people not eat any part of an animal that is suspected or confirmed to have CWD.
Venison donation

Whenever possible, the NPS donates all venison from its deer reduction operations to local food banks, consistent with NPS public health guidelines. All CWD positive meat is destroyed.
The NPS will continue to participate in monitoring of collected deer for CWD and will destroy venison testing positive for CWD, according to NPS guidelines.