Chronic wasting disease continues to be confirmed in deer in Minnesota.
Dakota County had its first-ever CWD-positive confirmation in a wild deer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The deer, an adult male, was displaying neurological symptoms and was reported by a Farmington resident. This deer was found nearly 100 miles from the state’s primary CWD area near Preston.
“An informed citizen did the right thing by calling DNR, which allowed us to identify and remove this deer from the landscape,” says Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “We’re hopeful the disease is not widespread in the area.”
In the short term, DNR is developing plans to sample deer until the fall hunting season. Cornicelli says deer hunting is the primary tool for managing this disease and DNR will follow its CWD response plan to identify a CWD management zone that will be at least 15 miles around the positive deer.
In addition, DNR will prohibit recreational deer feeding. Until then, DNR asks that residents voluntarily stop feeding deer.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health, which oversees farmed deer and elk in the state, is expanding its endemic area for CWD based on this new detection by the DNR. The board establishes the endemic area boundary 15 miles around all confirmed cases of CWD in the wild.
More CWD on depopulated farm
MBAH recently announce that test results from a depopulated Pine County deer farm have confirmed four additional cases of 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.
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 MBAH will continue to take immediate action if any new detections are identified.
For more information on CWD, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, frequently asked questions and hunter information, visit mndnr.gov/cwd.