Rabid deer prompts warning for hunters

A rabid deer in Chester County led to post-exposure rabies shots for a Lancaster County man, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials said today. Officials said the man harvested and field-dressed a deer on Jan. 20 in Valley Township; the deer later tested positive for rabies, officials said.

"The hunter contacted us about his concerns that the deer was unfit for human consumption," said John Veylupek, Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer in a news release. "The hunter said that he saw the deer standing in a creek, straining and growling. He thought there was a coyote nearby from the sounds the deer was making. After gathering information from the hunter, as well as samples for testing, it was determined that the deer was rabid. Because the hunter had scratches on his hands and had field-dressed the deer without wearing gloves, we considered this a human exposure and urged him to contact his doctor about post-exposure rabies shots."

In the release, Walter Cottrell, the Game Commission’s wildlife veterinarian, reiterated the agency's long-standing recommendations that hunters and trappers avoid harvesting animals that appear sick and to wear rubber or latex gloves when field-dressing any mammal.

For more information on rabies, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), put your cursor over "Wildlife" in the menu bar listing, then put your cursor over "Wildlife Diseases" in the drop-down menu listing, click on "Wildlife Disease Reference Library" in the second drop-down menu listing and then select "Rabies" in the alphabetical listing.

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