CWD infection reported in Beltrami County deer farm

A white-tailed doe at a Beltrami County deer farm is positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The 77-head herd was quarantined last October as part of an Animal Health Board investigation.

The Beltrami County herd owner purchased 11 animals from a Winona County herd also identified in this investigation, leading the animals to be considered CWD-exposed, requiring quarantine.

The Minnesota DNR will conduct surveillance around the Beltrami County farm to determine if nearby wild deer are infected, starting around this year’s fall hunting season and lasting at least three years.

The DNR encourages Beltrami County residents to report observations of sick wild deer to their local wildlife office by calling 218-732-8452. A deer feeding ban will also be put in place in Beltrami and surrounding counties.

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 fluids or tissues.

The disease is fatal in deer and elk, and there are no known treatments or vaccines. Consuming meat from a CWD-positive animal is not advised.

The test was confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

The Beltrami County herd owner requested federal indemnity, requesting the government to reimburse them, for the CWD-exposed animals.

Three of the 11 exposed animals had recently died, one of them being the CWD-positive doe.

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