News Release

For immediate release: April 29, 2020

Contact: Michael Crusan

CWD investigation spurred by Douglas County deer farm detection concludes

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health’s investigation of all herds with connections to the CWD-positive Douglas County farm is complete and revealed a total of six CWD positive deer. In all, eight herds in six counties were linked by animal movement and six herds were quarantined. All the CWD positive deer were in two herds, the one in Douglas County and another in Pine County. With the investigation wrapped up, only one site has farmed cervids that remain quarantined in Chisago County.

“The quarantined herd will have a signed herd plan with the Board and will not move deer or related products onto or off of the farm during the agreement,” said Assistant Director, Dr. Linda Glaser. “The quarantine will be lifted in October 2022 if the CWD-exposed buck is alive and shows no clinical signs of CWD. The date is five years after the buck was exposed to known CWD positive does when it was in the Pine County herd.”

The investigated herds, test results and outcomes are broken down by the six counties in chronological order:

  1. Douglas County: One doe died in late November and tested CWD positive. The remaining animal, a buck, was harvested and tested, with the result of CWD not detected. No deer remain on the farm and it’s quarantined for five years.
  2. Pine County (two herds):
    • Herd 1: One doe died in December and tested positive for CWD. The producer accepted USDA indemnity for the herd, which was depopulated in January. Eight deer were harvested and two does and two fawns tested CWD positive. No deer remain, the farm is quarantined for five years.
    • Herd 2: Herd closed before the investigation.
  1. Clearwater County: One CWD-exposed animal was identified and it had been previously harvested and tested. CWD was not detected, and the quarantine was released.
  2. Wadena County: Three CWD-exposed animals were identified and appraised by the USDA. Only two of the three deer could be found in the pen during the depopulation, and the third deer was never confirmed. The producer harvested the remaining two animals in the herd. CWD was not detected in any of the animals tested. No deer remain on the farm and because the CWD status of the third CWD-exposed animal could not be verified, the farm is quarantined for five years.
  3. Chisago County (two herds):
    • Herd 1: Herd was identified with a CWD-exposed animal. The producer has not accepted USDA appraisal and indemnity, and the herd remains quarantined.
    • Herd 2: Herd closed before the investigation.
  1. Kandiyohi County: Herd was determined to not be a source of CWD, and quarantine was released.

The Pine County, Douglas County and Wadena County sites are not allowed to have any deer or elk for five years. Owners must maintain fencing to prevent wild deer from accessing empty pens. Biohazard signs have been posted on the fencing and must be maintained for the entire five-year fallow period.

The Board’s investigation included reviewing and verifying herd histories, accuracy of records, identification tags, and meeting with the producers to inspect fencing and interview producers to gather information for USDA’s epidemiological questionnaire to identify risk factors for CWD exposure.

CWD is a disease of the deer and elk family caused by prions, 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.