Nine more deer added to tally of CWD positive whitetails at Houston County farm

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St. Paul, Minn. – Test results following the late-January depopulation of a Houston County white-tailed deer farm confirm nine additional cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD). Results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the detection of CWD in five does and four bucks. The farm first detected CWD in a 2-½-year-old white-tailed deer in October 2020 (read the 2020 press release here).

“This herd was in good standing in our farmed cervid program and was double-fenced since 2017,” said Board Assistant Director, Dr. Linda Glaser. “It’s an example of how elusive CWD can be to detect and control quickly before it infects multiple animals within a herd. Ten infected animals despite an owner following all regulations highlights why we need the research to catch up to the disease.”

A total of 46 white-tailed deer were depopulated on January 26 and all were sampled for CWD. The Houston County farm is 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 will be posted on the fencing and must be maintained for the entire five-year fallow period.

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 meat from a CWD positive animal 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.