CWD is found in a deer near Pine Island - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

CWD is found in a deer near Pine Island

PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Minnesota DNR says they've found the state's first wild deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, near Pine Island. The deer was shot by a hunter last November.

After years of worrying that Chronic Wasting Disease would show up in Minnesota's deer, the DNR's worst fear, has come true.

"We sampled 524 deer during last year's firearm season and one of those samples came back positive," said Don Nelson, with Rochester's DNR Office.

Nelson said they might be able to contain this debilitating condition.

"We found the disease fairly early. we know we have a fairly low infection rate and there is a chance we might be able to wipe it out," said Nelson.

Over 700 Elk from a Pine Island farm had to be killed after one tested positive. The infected deer was found just three miles southwest of that Elk farm. 

"CWD was found on that Elk farm in 2008, but we have no way of testing to determine if that's where this deer became infected or not," explained Nelson.

We may never know how the deer became ill with the neurological disease, but Nelson said there are signs to look for. Nelson told us that over time the deer will lose weight and become emaciated hanging it's head, before it dies. The DNR is aligning strategies to stop the disease dead in its tracks.

"Yet this winter try to get some additional samples, through sharp shooting, landowner permits to kill additional deer in that area  and see if there's any more positive samples," said Nelson.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has established a 10-mile radius where the deer was shot. All captive elk and deer herds will have movement restrictions. It's just one of the many steps they're taking to curb the spread of the disease.

DNR officials told us it's safe to eat the venison in your freezer from this past hunting season, unless the deer was ill when you shot it.

 

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