CROW WING COUNTY, MN – Authorities have killed the entire herd at a Crow Wing County deer farm, hoping to study a deadly disease.
According to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the herd, located near Brainerd, was first infected with Chronic Wasting Disease in 2016. Then in February, another wild deer carcass found nearby also tested positive for CWD.
The death of the herd allows researchers to collect brain stems and lymph nodes, two body parts they need to test for CWD. They hope to have the results within a couple weeks.
“At this point, any CWD positive results do not change our disease response, because we already know the site held CWD positive deer and have been treating it as such,” Board of Animal Health Assistant Director, Dr. Linda Glaser, said.
As of this depopulation, all CWD positive deer farms in the state are empty.
CWD is a disease of the deer and elk family caused by an abnormally shaped protein, a prion, 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.