Seven CWD-positives from Crow Wing County deer farm depopulation
St. Paul, Minn. — Seven of 102 deer tested for chronic wasting disease after a Crow Wing County deer farm depopulation effort have tested positive for the disease, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said in a news release Wednesday, May 8.
The deer were removed from the farm April 16 and all viable samples were sent to the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory for CWD testing. Thirteen of the deer were too decomposed to allow for successful testing, according to the release.
“We appreciate the cooperation of the herd owner and the collaboration of the other state and federal partners we’ve worked with to depopulate this farm and get these CWD test results,” said Board Assistant Director Dr. Linda Glaser. “The results give us a clearer picture of the disease prevalence on the farm as we continue our efforts to contain and eliminate any remaining infectious CWD prions in the enclosed property.”
CWD is a difficult disease because it is transmitted by abnormally shaped proteins called prions, which are very resistant to traditional disinfection treatments like heat and chemicals. Depopulation is currently the best available management option to control CWD in cervid herds. After a herd is depopulated there is still a risk of environmental contamination. The land will remain fenced and no farmed cervids may be housed on the site for a period of at least five years to reduce the risk of the disease being spread off the site.
CWD testing is part of many mandatory measures placed upon Minnesota’s farmed cervid herds to monitor and control this disease. Current testing procedures require samples taken from the brain and lymph nodes of the animal, and there are no live-animal sampling procedures at this time.
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.