1st new CWD case in 5 years from Wis. game farm

ELAND, Wis. (AP) — A deer killed on a hunting preserve in central Wisconsin has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the first new case in five years on a game farm in the state, officials said.

The 5-year-old buck was among about 370 deer at the preserve near Eland in Marathon County, according to state veterinarian Paul McGraw, who has quarantined the preserve and three nearby farms owned by the same entity. The state did not immediately identify the game farm or its owners. The quarantine stops movement of live deer from the property.

The buck was shot on Nov. 4, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. A tissue sample from the deer was taken on Nov. 7 because state regulations require that deer or elk killed on game farms and hunting preserves must be tested for CWD.

The original sample tested positive at a regional laboratory. A second test by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the first test.

Chronic wasting disease belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. The disease has not been shown to harm humans, but the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends that people not consume venison from an infected deer.

Chronic wasting disease was discovered in Wisconsin in February 2002. The source of CWD has never been determined in Wisconsin, but one theory is that diseased deer from the western U.S., where CWD has long been present, moved east and eventually to Wisconsin. The disease has been found in the wild, but also on game farms and shooting preserves.

The biggest outbreak on a deer farm was in Portage County, where 82 deer tested positive in 2006. The findings are believed to be the highest infection rate for a captive herd in the U.S. Before the herd could be killed, officials discovered a hole in a fence on the property where about 30 deer had escaped.

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