Minnesota ‘at war’ after new CWD findings; how experts plan to track the spread
BELTRAMI CO., MN-- Minnesota researchers are still 'at war' with a deadly disease affecting the state's deer population.
Dr. Peter Larsen, Co-Director of Minnesota Center for Prion Research and Outreach (MNPRO) says the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is being identified in various counties due to several farms going positive over time.
Larsen led a team of scientists who spent the summer researching CWD in Beltrami County, who found one doe on a deer farm infected with the disease.
Later, Larsen's team found the infectious particle on 15 deer carcasses as well as on maggots and on the soil.
Craig Engwall of Minnesota's Deer Association said it's serious issue hunters and researchers should be worried about.
"Up until now it had been viewed mostly as an issue down in the southeast corner of the state and with the threat disposed to northern Minnesota's deer herd and all that goes with deer and deer hunting and the economy it's really a huge deal," Engwall said.
Larsen said they plan on testing the grass to catch the infectious particles before they spread further.
According to Larsen and Engwall, with hunting season around the corner, hunters need to get their deer tested in Beltrami County and watch where they are hunting in order to slow the spread and avoid infectious areas.
"Just like it is in other areas where there have been discoverings of CWD in wild or captive deer, they have mandatory surveillance there," Engwall said.
Larsen added his team expects a 20% increase in CWD meat consumption in the next couple of years, which is deemed 'unfit' by the FDA and USDA for animal and human consumption, posing a mutation risk that could affect humans.
There have been no human cases of CWD so far.
For information about CWD testing and CWD areas, visit the Minnesota DNR's website.