Chronic Wasting Disease detected in Lac qui Parle County

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

The Board of Animal Health announced today that chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in one domestic white-tailed deer on a cervid farm in Lac qui Parle County, which is located in southwestern Minnesota.

Immediately, DNR officials will conduct a local deer survey to determine the number of wild deer in the area. It is expected that not many deer will be found because the area is highly agricultural, with little deer habitat surrounding the farm. DNR will conduct opportunistic sampling of deer, like road kills, in the immediate area now and will conduct intensive hunter-harvested surveillance during the 2006 firearm deer season.

Although this positive animal is a captive deer, DNR has conducted surveillance for CWD in wild deer in the area. The farm is located near the northern boundary of deer permit area 447, where wild deer surveillance for CWD last occurred in 2003.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator, said, "In 2003, we conducted wild deer CWD surveillance in adjoining permit areas 433, 446 and 447. In total, we collected 392 samples from those permit areas during the regular firearm deer season and CWD was not detected."

The sampling of wild deer was designed statistically to have a 95 percent confidence of detecting a 1 percent infection rate, according to Mike DonCarlos, DNR wildlife programs manager.

"This situation is very similar to the positive elk farm discovered in Stearns County in 2003, which followed the first discovery of CWD in an Aitkin County elk farm," DonCarlos said. “The DNR response will be similar to the Stearns County action and will include an initial assessment of wild deer populations in the area and development of a surveillance program for next fall."

From 2002 to 2004, DNR staff collected nearly 28,000 CWD samples statewide and no disease found in the wild herd.

"The intensive surveillance conducted in 2003 indicated CWD was not present in wild deer," Cornicelli said. “In addition, all indications are that this positive captive deer has not contacted any wild deer, but we will conduct additional surveillance this fall to be sure."