News Release

Three white-tailed deer test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Antietam and Monocacy national battlefields

Date: March 5, 2024

WASHINGTON— During recent white-tailed deer reduction operations and subsequent disease sampling at Antietam and Monocacy national battlefields, the National Park Service (NPS) received positive test results for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Two deer tested positive at Antietam and one at Monocacy. These are the first CWD-positive detections for national parks in the state of Maryland. However, CWD has been present in Maryland since 2010.   

These national parks and others in the region reduce deer populations to protect and restore native plants, promote healthy and diverse forests, and preserve historic landscapes. All Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia national parks conducting deer reduction operations participate in a CWD monitoring program to monitor wildlife health. Until this year, all results 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.  

  • NPS has reached out to the local food bank that is depending on and expecting venison donations to provide information about the CWD results.  

  • The NPS will continue to monitor collected deer for CWD and destroy venison testing positive for CWD, according to NPS guidelines. 


About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 429 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube


Last updated: March 6, 2024