The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has quarantined a herd of farmed deer in Crow Wing County after two of the animals tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Paul Anderson, assistant director of the Board of Animal Health, said Friday that it is working with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Agriculture Department to determine “the best course of action” for the private herd of 33 mule deer and 100 whitetails.
In the meantime, no deer will be allowed to leave or enter the farm, located near the town of Merrifield.
“We hope the full extent of the infection is evaluated soon so overall disease prevalence can be determined for the remaining animals,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. The agency is likely to conduct CWD surveillance in wild deer in the area next hunting season to look for evidence of a possible outbreak.
The DNR already is fighting a CWD outbreak in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota’s Fillmore County, where three infected animals killed by hunters around Lanesboro were detected by a DNR surveillance program. On Saturday, the agency is launching a special hunt in a recently defined disease management zone to dramatically thin the local whitetail population.
CWD is contagious among deer, elk and moose, and close contact between deer is viewed as way for the fatal brain disease to travel.