DNR: Precautionary test results show no new outbreaks of CWD in wild deer

No chronic wasting disease was detected in more than 11,000 precautionary samples from deer that hunters harvested this fall in north-central, central and southeastern Minnesota, the DNR said in a news release late Monday morning, Dec. 11.

In all, 7,813 deer were tested in the north-central area, 2,529 in the central area and 1,149 in the southeastern area outside deer permit area 603, the CWD management zone. Researchers still are submitting samples from cooperating taxidermists and final results will be updated online at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck as they become available, the DNR said.

Given no deer with CWD were found in north-central and central Minnesota, the DNR will narrow surveillance next fall to areas closer to the farms where CWD was detected. A fourth precautionary surveillance area will be added in fall 2018 in Winona County because CWD recently was detected in captive deer there.

Precautionary testing in north-central and central Minnesota became necessary after CWD was found in multiple captive deer on farms near Merrifield in Crow Wing County and Litchfield in Meeker County. It also was conducted in the deer permit areas directly adjacent to southeast Minnesota’s deer permit area 603, the only place in Minnesota where CWD is known to exist in wild deer.

Minnesota’s CWD response plan calls for testing of wild deer after the disease is detected in either domestic or wild deer. All results from three consecutive years of testing must report CWD as not detected before DNR stops looking for the disease.

Three years of testing are necessary because CWD incubates in deer slowly, the DNR said. They can be exposed for as long as 18 months before laboratory tests of lymph node samples can detect the disease.

Complete information about CWD and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy are available at mndnr.gov/cwd.

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