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.