St Paul, MN (KROC AM News) - The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced Friday Chronic Wasting Disease has been identified at a deer farm in Crow Wing County near Merrifield.

Two deer that were slaughtered on the farm tested positive for CWD. Neither showed signs of illness. The herd of 33 mule deer and 100 white-tailed deer is registered with the board. It requires CWD testing of all farmed deer or elk that die or are slaughtered and are more than 12 months of age.

"The affected herd has been quarantined," said Dr. Paul Anderson, assistant director at the Board of Animal Health. "At this point, our priority is making sure no deer leave or enter the farm while we work with the owner to determine the best course of action for the herd. We're also working closely with the Department of Natural Resources and the United States Department of Agriculture as we develop plans."

“We hope the full extent of the infection is evaluated soon so overall disease prevalence can be determined for the remaining animals,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. “A full accounting of on-farm and movements of farmed animals will help inform DNR’s overall response to the discovery.”

People who hunt near the infected farm should prepare for CWD surveillance during the 2017 deer hunting season. The DNR’s CWD response plan, which establishes general procedures for wild deer surveillance if CWD is detected in a farmed deer facility, is available online at

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

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