Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

CWD is a disease of deer and elk caused by an abnormally shaped protein, called a prion that can damage brain and nerve tissue. The disease is most likely transmitted from one animal to another through shedding of abnormal prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other bodily fluids or tissues. CWD is a slow and progressive disease without any known treatment or vaccine.

All farmed cervidae producers are required to test their herds for CWD. From each herd, all farmed cervidae 12 months of age and older that die or are slaughtered must be tested for CWD. Tissue samples are tested for CWD at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

In order to maintain accurate CWD surveillance information, producers must report to the Board of Animal Health, all deer or elk that die or are moved out of the herd to other locations.

Other state resources addressing CWD:

Minnesota's endemic area

Late 2020 update:

The Board has expanded the endemic area for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the state again at the end of this year based on information from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on CWD positive wild deer harvested or found dead during the 2020 fall hunting season. From this data, the Board establishes the endemic area boundary 15 miles around all confirmed cases of CWD in the wild. The endemic area also includes all of Houston County as most of the county was within 15 miles of a confirmed case of CWD in the wild including a CWD positive wild deer harvested in Vernon County, Wisconsin on the border with Minnesota. The map linked below depicts the perimeter of the endemic area in Minnesota.

The designation of this area impacts farmed Cervidae herds found within the area. Farmed Cervidae in these herds are restricted from moving to other areas of the state until the producer can demonstrate the herd is maintained in such a way to prevent commingling of farmed and wild Cervidae. Commingling of farmed and wild cervidae can occur across a fence and additional exclusionary barriers must be constructed and approved by the Board to prevent this commingling. Producers that have established exclusionary fencing or barriers must be inspected by the Board before the movement restriction on their herd is released.

Click here to view the current endemic area map.

If additional CWD positive free-ranging cervidae are found in subsequent surveillance of the wild deer herd, the endemic area may need to expand. The Board can designate a larger geographic area of the state if necessary to prevent the spread of CWD.

Click here to view the distribution of CWD in North America.

CWD Authorized Sample Collectors

Effective January 1, 2020, the Board will no longer pay for farmed cervid Chronic Wasting Disease testing if the sample collector is not authorized by the Board.

In order for the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to verify you are an authorized sample collector, you must list your four-digit authorization number on the CWD sample submission form.

Screen shot of Death Report Information on the CWD Sample Submission form. Required "Sample Collector ID" field is highlighted.If your four-digit authorization number is not written on the CWD sample submission form, you will be required to pay for CWD testing.

To become authorized you must contact your district Veterinarian to inquire on CWD sample collector training.  If you are unsure of your nearest district Veterinarian, please contact the Board office at 651-201-6804 or email farmed.cervidae@state.mn.us.