News Release

For immediate release: February 28, 2017

Contact: Michael Crusan

No Chronic Wasting Disease in Board's latest test results

Herds in Brainerd and Mountain Iron released from quarantine

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health received negative test results for Chronic Wasting Disease on five white-tailed deer it traced out of an infected herd in Merrifield, Minnesota. Four of the deer were tested from a herd in Brainerd, and a single deer was tested from a herd in Mountain Iron. Those farms are released from quarantine because of the negative test results. Working with the USDA and the herd owners, the Board gathered samples from the suspect deer and sent them to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa for official testing.

The Board’s investigation of movement records out of the herd-of-origin in Merrifield show deer were moved to four other Minnesota farms during the five year trace-back period. The Board shares information with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which responds to and manages CWD in wild deer. The Board regulates farmed deer, and it works with the USDA as it investigates CWD cases.

Recap of current CWD investigations of farmed deer in Minnesota:

  • Merrifield, Minnesota (Crow Wing County): Herd of origin for the current CWD investigation. Positive CWD test from two white-tailed deer. Remains under quarantine.
  • Dassel, Minnesota (Meeker County): Positive CWD test from one white-tailed deer. Remains under quarantine.
  • Freeport, Minnesota (Stearns County): No CWD tests conducted. Remains under quarantine.
  • Brainerd, Minnesota (Crow Wing County): Negative CWD test from four white-tailed deer. Released from quarantine.
  • Mountain Iron, Minnesota (St. Louis County): Negative CWD test from one white-tailed deer. Released from quarantine.

“We never want to find CWD in Minnesota and these negatives are good news for deer and elk,” said Dr. Paul Anderson, assistant director at the Board of Animal Health. “While we still don’t have a definitive answer to how CWD infected the original herd in Merrifield, these results limit the scope of our response and the potential spread of the disease.”

CWD is a disease of deer and elk caused by an abnormally shaped protein, a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. There is no danger to other animal species. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues. The disease is always fatal and there are no known treatments or vaccines. CWD is not known to affect humans, though consuming infected meat is not advised.

Information about Minnesota’s farmed deer and elk herds can be found on the deer and elk page by following this link.