Oneida County, NY (WIBX) - The Department of Environmental Conservation is conducting tests on deer in Oneida County for Chronic Wasting Disease. In 2005, the disease was detected in the area and Stephen Litwhiler, a DEC spokesman, says current testing is a continuation of the sampling efforts underway. "We have had a surveillance program that actually targeted deer all around Oneida County since then, and what we're doing this year is a continuing of that surveillance," Litwhiler said.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal illness that affects deer and other members of the cervid family. It's not transmittable to humans. Litwhiler says Oneida County was the first place in the state where biologists first detected the wasting disease in deer back in 2005 during routine testing of captive white-tailed deer in Westmoreland. He says this year the DEC is asking hunters to assist them in its efforts. "We are asking hunters who actually take a deer in central Oneida County--what we call Deer Management Unit 6P--if they could bring their deer to one of the cooperating meat cutters, actually all we need is the head of the deer to take the lymph nodes for the sampling, or during the opening week of the Southern Zone Deer Season, if they want to bring their whole deer to our check station in Rome, they can quickly be on their way," Litwhiler said.

You can learn more about the wasting disease study on the DEC's website, http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7191.html. Hunters can also contact the Rome deer check station on Monday and Tuesday (November 21 and 22) and the following Saturday and Sunday (November 26 and 27) at (315) 778-8750.