News Release

White-tailed deer test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

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Date: April 23, 2024
Contact: NCR Communications

WASHINGTON— During recent white-tailed deer reduction operations and subsequent disease sampling at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, two deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Both animals were from the Jefferson County, West Virginia portion of the park. This is the first CWD-positive detection at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. 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.  

Last updated: April 23, 2024

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Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

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