There’s a Brain Disease Outbreak Spreading Among Deer, and Now It’s In Maryland

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800px-White_Tailed_DeerDeer already have it bad enough, being the target of hunters and making death-defying jots across highways. Now, a chronic brain disease is spreading through Western Maryland, making things even harder in the woods.

Last week, four white-tail deer that were found dead in Allegany County tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The disease causes deer to become less social with other animals. Hunters probably aren’t partial to it either, since it causes deer to lose weight and smell like rotting meat – while they’re still alive.

The disease likely spread to Maryland from West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania, where the deer have been wasting since 2005.

“We have sampled intensively for this disease since 2002 and see this as an unfortunate but inevitable outcome,” said Paul Peditto, of the state Department of Natural Resources.

While the disease ravages deer, it hasn’t been found to spread to humans or livestock.

“Concerns over CWD should not stop anyone from deer hunting and enjoying venison,” a DNR advisory states.



Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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