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DNR report: Deer farm with past CWD cases identifies more

Chronic wasting disease was detected in four harvested samples from farmed deer at a quarantined farm in Crow Wing County. The farm has been under movement restrictions and monitored by the Board since December 2016 when two white-tailed deer tested positive for the disease. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirms recent samples were CWD positive in four deer.

  • 9-year-old female mule deer.
  • 1.5-year-old female white-tailed deer.
  • 2-year-old male white-tailed deer.
  • 2-year-old female mule deer.

“We’ve been working with the herd owner for the past two years to monitor the deer and look for any new detections of the disease,” said Assistant Director Dr. Linda Glaser. “The biggest change following this new detection will be to extend our deadline to monitor the herd.”

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently in the second year of sampling wild deer for CWD in Crow Wing County as a result of the farm’s earlier infection.

This past Saturday and Sunday, the opening weekend of the firearms deer-hunting season, the DNR sampled hunter-killed deer in Crow Wing County and results are not yet available. No CWD has been found in wild deer since the DNR began its surveillance in Crow Wing County in 2017.

The DNR typically conducts three years of surveillance of wild deer in a specific area where CWD is found in a farmed deer. This newest discovery in farmed deer didn’t change how DNR conducted its recent sampling during opening weekend in Crow Wing County, said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager.

However, DNR staff will meet with Board of Animal Health staff to assess the risk factors associated with this latest discovery at the farm and determine whether a fourth year of surveillance of wild deer is necessary, Cornicelli said.

“We appreciate all the cooperation hunters provided us during this past opening weekend with surveillance in Crow Wing County,” Cornicelli said.

CWD is a disease affecting members of the deer and elk family caused by an abnormally shaped protein, a prion, which can cause damage to brain and nerve tissue. There is no danger to other animal species. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine and other fluids or tissues. The disease is always fatal, and there are no known treatments or vaccines. The Board advises testing all Cervidae for the disease. Consuming infected meat is not advised.