CWD confirmed in quarantined Winona County deer herd

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Saint Paul, Minn - Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been confirmed in a four-year-old doe in a Winona County white-tailed deer herd. This herd has been officially quarantined since October 2020 and is part of the Board of Animal Health’s (Board’s) investigation into the CWD-positive Beltrami County herd. The Board has been working with the Winona County herd owner to collect samples and test them for CWD. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the positive results this week.

“This herd is part of an existing CWD investigation,” said Interim Executive Director Dr. Linda Glaser. “We’re now working with the producer and the USDA to develop a plan for depopulation and testing.”

The Board officially quarantined this herd as CWD exposed in October 2020, when CWD was confirmed in a Houston County white-tailed deer that came from the Winona County herd. The investigation then expanded to include a herd in Beltrami County, which was also found infected with CWD in late winter 2021. Both CWD infected herds in Houston and Beltrami Counties were depopulated.

In response to the detection of CWD in another Winona County deer farm, a special hunt resulted in the first detection of CWD in a wild white-tailed deer in Winona County in January 2019. The Winona County herd where CWD was confirmed this week has been double fenced since 2015. 

CWD is a neurological disease of the deer and elk family caused by prions and is always fatal. The disease can be spread by both direct (animal-to-animal) and indirect (environmental) contact with infected Cervidae. Prions are shed through saliva, urine, blood, feces, and antler velvet and are known to persist in the environment for years. Additionally, carcass remains from a dead infected deer can serve as a source of further infection to other Cervidae. Consuming meat from CWD infected animals is not advised.