State game officers partner with vets to battle degenerative deer disease

A pair of deer peer through the woods from near a tree on the first day of regular firearms deer hunting season in most of Pennsylvania, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Fombell, Pa. The Pennsylvania firearms deer hunting season runs through Dec. 8 in most of the state. (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo)

A pair of deer peer through the woods from near a tree on the first day of regular firearms deer hunting season in most of Pennsylvania, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Fombell, Pa. The Pennsylvania firearms deer hunting season runs through Dec. 8 in most of the state. (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo)

A brain and nervous system disorder that kills animals like deer, elk and moose is on the rise in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is in the early days of a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school to try and address chronic wasting disease.

When a deer contracts CWD, it’s usually not clear right away.

According to the commission, it takes up to about two years for the animal to get sick. Ultimately, the disease is always fatal.

There aren’t any known human cases, but experts still advise people not to eat meat that could be contaminated, or to handle it without gloves.

To help hunters, the Pennsylvania Game Commission started carving out Disease Management Areas in 2012. They’ve since expanded them to cover thousands and thousands of miles.

Earlier this month, Penn Vet announced a partnership with the commission to help stem the spread of the disease.

It’s dedicating 12 employees to studying wildlife diseases in general. Along with CWD, focuses include West Nile virus and white-nose syndrome, which has devastated bat populations.

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