9 more deer on Houston County farm test positive for CWD

The deer farm had a positive case of CWD back in October and was being depopulated.
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Nine more deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) on a Houston County white-tailed deer farm.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health on Monday announced the test results at the farm after it was depopulated on Jan. 26 following a confirmed case of CWD in October 2020

“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.”

The board said 46 deer were depopulated in January and all were sampled for CWD, which is a fatal neurological disorder that affects deer and elk. 

The deer farm is prohibited from having any deer or elk for five years and the farm owner must maintain fencing to prevent any wild deer from accessing the empty pens. Meanwhile, the farm has to post biohazard signs on the fence. 

More on CWD

CWD is found globally and in about half of the states in the United States. Although it's still relatively rare in Minnesota, it is a concern because there is no cure and it is fatal to deer and elk, the DNR says.

The Board of Animal Health says the disease is caused by prions, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. It's most likely spread when an infected deer or elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine or other fluids or tissues.

CWD is not known to naturally occur in other animals, although eating meat from a CWD-infected deer is not advised.

The Minnesota DNR has restrictions on deer hunting in several areas to minimize the spread of CWD, including the sampling of deer that are hunted in the state's disease management zones. 

In 2020, the DNR said it confirmed CWD in 22 deer out of the 7,682 samples. However, sampling was voluntary due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wildlife officials concerned they don't have an accurate picture of CWD in Minnesota, DL Online says

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