A captive deer at a farm in east-central Minnesota has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, in a case linked to another CWD discovery last month.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health said Friday that a doe at a farm in Pine County tested positive for the fatal brain disease. Last month's CWD case was in western Minnesota's Douglas County.
After that report, state officials "identified the Pine County herd as high priority early in our investigation because our records showed it provided deer to the Douglas County herd,” Dr. Linda Glaser, health assistant director for the board, said in a news release. “At this point in the investigation CWD has not been detected in any of the other herds connected to Douglas County.”
The Douglas County case prompted the Department of Natural Resources to impose a 30-day emergency rule banning the transport of farmed white-tailed deer within Minnesota. That rule remains in effect.
The owner of the Pine County herd now is required to kill and test all the remaining deer on the farm, and "maintain fencing with biohazard signage for five years," the board reported. "The investigation is continuing beyond this herd to discover additional movements of deer between it and other locations in the past. Any additional farms identified will be quarantined and their movement records will be reviewed."
More than 70 deer have tested positive for CWD in Minnesota since the disease was first detected in the state in 2002
Chronic wasting disease is still very rare in Minnesota, but it’s potential spread is a constant worry for state conservation officials who are stewards of the state’s $1 billion annual deer-hunting industry.
CWD is a death sentence for the animals that contract it. There's no cure for the brain disease and no vaccine. It's not known to naturally occur in other animals.