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CWD discovered in two wild deer in southeast Minnesota

Control zone deployed to protect deer and elk farms within 10-mile radius of detection sites.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) identified two positive cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild deer near Lanesboro, Minn.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) is responding to help protect the state’s farmed and wild deer populations. A disease control zone with a 10-mile radius will be established around where the two CWD-positive deer were found. Farmed deer and elk herd owners within this zone will not be allowed to move deer or elk into or out of the zone until an investigation has been completed and movement restrictions released. There are four deer or elk farms located within this CWD control zone.

“We are restricting movement of farmed deer and elk within the disease control zone until we have finished our investigations and evaluated the risks on each farm for the transmission of CWD from wild to farmed animals,” BAH assistant director Dr. Paul Anderson said. “Our staff will personally notify each deer and elk farmer whose herd is located within the disease control zone and will begin the investigations.”

Minnesota is home to more than 11,000 farmed deer or elk on 462 farms around the state. All farmed deer and elk producers are required to test their animals for CWD. From each herd, all animals 12 months of age and older that die or are slaughtered must be tested for CWD. Tissue samples are tested for CWD at the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. To maintain accurate CWD surveillance, producers must report to BAH all deer or elk that die or are moved out of the herd to other locations.

CWD is a disease of deer and elk caused by an abnormally shaped protein called a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. CWD poses no danger to other animal species and is not known to affect humans. It is most likely transmitted between deer and elk through the shedding of prions in saliva, feces, urine and other fluids or tissues. There are no known treatments or vaccines.

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