Chronic wasting disease reported near Brainerd; Walz proposes $4.6M for rapid response – INFORUM

Chronic wasting disease reported near Brainerd; Walz proposes... - Brainerd Dispatch

The announcement comes the same day Department of Natural Resources officials said they’d identified a case of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer in Crow Wing County. It’s the first confirmed case reported outside southeastern Minnesota.

A deceased adult female deer was found in Merrifield, north of Brainerd, in January and was tested for the fatal disease. Test results on Thursday, Feb. 14 confirmed the deer was positive for CWD.

“We take every discovery of CWD very seriously,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a statement. “It is our hope that we discovered the Crow Wing County infection early and can respond quickly with actions to eliminate the disease in this area.”

The DNR would get $4.6 million to boost its CWD surveillance and rapid response efforts between this summer and 2021 as part of Walz’s proposal. And the department would see lower appropriations, $1.1 million a year, after that period.

Walz’s proposal would also put an additional $208,000 to the Board of Animal Health in 2020 and $529,000 starting in 2021. The extra dollars would aim to improve monitoring of farmed deer.

“As a lifelong sportsman, I know how urgent this issue is for Minnesotans,” Walz said in a statement. “The Minnesota DNR is working hard to contain chronic wasting disease. This critical funding would help ensure they have the best tools and resources available to maintain deer health and management across the state.”

There’s no test at this point that can detect chronic wasting disease in live deer. And there’s no vaccine or antidote to get rid of it.

More than 30 cases of the disease have been confirmed in Minnesota. In Wisconsin, by comparison, thousands of cases have been reported. The disease affects deer, moose, caribou and elk and it is always fatal.

“The recent discovery of a CWD positive wild deer in our area is disappointing, to say the least,” state Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said in a statement. “However, if we act quickly and forcefully, I believe we can eradicate the disease from this part of Minnesota.”

Minnesota lawmakers have filed various bills aimed at limiting the spread of the disease in Minnesota’s wild deer population. Among them are proposals to fund the creation of a device to test live deer for the disease and set a moratorium on new deer farms allowed in the state.

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