For the first time in five years, a white-tailed deer on a hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced this week. This latest case was found in Marathon County.
The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, reported the final test results back to the state. The animal was a 5-year-old male and was one of about 370 deer in the 351-acre preserve.
The deer was killed on Nov. 4. Samples were taken on Nov. 7 in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's rules, which require testing of farm-raised deer and elk when they die, go to slaughter or are killed. The sample originally tested positive at a regional laboratory and required a confirmatory test at the NVSL. The DATCP Animal Health Division's investigation will look at the animal's history and trace movements of deer onto and off the property to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD test-positive deer.
McGraw quarantined the preserve and the other three registered farms owned by the same entity immediately, which stops movement of live deer from the property, except to slaughter or to their hunting preserves. The business will be allowed to conduct hunts on the quarantined preserves, because properly handled dead animals leaving the premises do not pose a disease risk.
This is the first new CWD test-positive deer on a Wisconsin farm since October 2008.
Since CWD was discovered in Wisconsin in February 2002, there were eighty-two cases from a single Portage county farm that was depopulated in 2006. The remaining 15 cases were discovered over a six-year period from 2002 to 2008 on eight farms and hunting preserves. One of the infected animals was an elk; the rest have been white-tailed deer. Since 1998, more than 35,700 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested for CWD.