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DNR: CWD-positive deer carcasses dumped outside of quarantine area

An investigation with precautionary measures is underway.

The spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Minnesota's deer population continues as the DNR announced Tuesday that 12 more white-tailed deer in Beltrami County have tested positive for the deadly disease. 

The 12 infected deer – five does and seven fawns – were part of a farmed deer herd in Beltrami County, the same herd that had its first positive CWD sample found in a 3-year-old doe in April.

After discovering the infected deer the USDA "depopulated" (euthanized) the remaining 54 deer in the herd, with each deer then being tested for CWD. 

The chain of infection in Beltrami County can be linked to infected deer from Winona County, the DNR says. That prompted immediate safety measures to prevent the spread of CWD by quarantining the Beltrami County herd in October 2020. 

But concern for further spread has risen after an inspection found that "several adult deer and fawn carcasses had been moved by the owner to nearby county-managed tax-forfeit land." 

It's unknown if infected carcasses spread to other animals, but as a precaution the DNR, Pollution Control Agency and other local officials are investigating. Local authorities are also working to build a fence around the dump site to prevent wild deer from wandering into the area, which could lead to infection. 

Below is a diagram that shows how exposed herds are connected to other CWD-positive herds. 

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