Investigation confirms four additional CWD positive deer on Pine County farm

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St. Paul, Minn. – Test results from the depopulation of a Pine County deer farm have confirmed four additional cases chronic wasting disease (CWD). The first CWD positive animals at this farm were confirmed in January 2020, resulting in depopulation of the herd. This herd was investigated because it provided animals to a Douglas County deer farm in the past, including a CWD-positive doe that began the disease investigation in December 2019.

“This CWD investigation has gone very well,” said Board Assistant Director, Dr. Linda Glaser. “We identified the Pine County herd quickly from that initial positive result in Douglas County. We immediately traced animals and quarantined herds. Those actions were in coordination with other agencies to rapidly respond to CWD in Minnesota.”

In early December 2019, a doe from the Pine County herd died, was tested and found to be CWD positive. In January, two fawns were harvested, and one tested positive for CWD. Following this development, the remaining six deer in the herd were depopulated, all of which were submitted for CWD testing. Results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory on these six deer confirmed the detection of CWD in two does and one fawn. In all, five of the nine total animals in the Pine County herd were CWD positive.

The Pine County and Douglas County sites are not allowed to have any deer or elk for five years. Owners must maintain fencing to prevent wild deer from accessing empty pens. Biohazard signs have been posted on the fencing and must be maintained for the entire five-year fallow period. The investigation is ongoing, and the Board will continue to take immediate action if any new detections are identified.

CWD is a disease of the deer and elk family caused by prions, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues. CWD is not known to naturally occur in other animals. The disease is fatal in deer and elk, and there are no known treatments or vaccines. Consuming infected meat is not advised.

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The mission of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is to protect the health of the state’s domestic animals through education and cooperation with veterinarians, producers, owners and communities.