Four new cases in Minnesota of farmed deer being infected with chronic wasting disease have been confirmed in Meeker County.
The four were among 14 white-tailed deer that were euthanized in Meeker County and then tested for CWD at a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
The farm operator agreed to euthanize the deer and have them tested after finding a positive test of CWD in the herd in January, the state Board of Animal Health said Wednesday.
Two of the four deer that tested positive came to the Meeker County herd as fawns from a Wright County farm, the board said. That farm was placed under quarantine Monday, even though that herd is not considered infected. Officials have not identified either farm.
“Although these animals appeared healthy, they were infected with CWD and would have continued to spread the disease if they remained alive,” said Linda Glaser, the board’s assistant director.
The Meeker County farm is under quarantine, the board said. Next comes disinfecting as much of the herd enclosures as possible and then keeping the property quarantined for five years, according to the board.
Minnesota is home to 460 deer and elk farms. The Board of Animal Health regulates deer and elk bred for meat and for fenced-in trophy hunts.
The board notified the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about the latest discovery. The DNR is working to keep CWD from spreading from farms to wild deer.
While always deadly to the deer, CWD is not transferable to humans. However, health officials do not advise eating meat from deer suspected of being infected.