Saturday, October 31, 2009

Elk from Olmsted County herd depopulated to control CWD Three additional elk from the 558-head herd tested positive

News Release For Immediate Release: Friday October 30, 2009 Contact: Malissa Fritz, BAH Communications Director

Elk from Olmsted County herd depopulated to control CWD ST. PAUL, MINN. – The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced today that the farmed elk herd in Olmsted County has been depopulated and tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

In January, 2009, a female elk from the herd tested positive for CWD. The remaining elk in the herd were removed to minimize the risk of CWD spreading to other farmed deer and elk or to wild white-tailed deer in the area. Marksmen from Wildlife Services, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), euthanized the animals in September.

USDA, Veterinary Services and Board personnel collected samples from each elk. Those samples were submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa for testing. Three additional elk from the 558-head herd tested positive for CWD, one male and two females.

In 2003, Minnesota implemented mandatory registration and CWD surveillance programs for farmed cervidae herds (members of the deer and elk family). When farmed cervidae over 16 months of age die or are slaughtered, herd owners must submit brain samples for CWD testing.

CWD is a fatal brain and nervous system disease found in cervidae in certain parts of North America. The disease is caused by an abnormally shaped protein called a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. Infected animals show progressive loss of body weight with accompanying behavioral changes. In later stages of the disease, infected animals become emaciated (thus “wasting” disease). Other signs include staggering, consuming large amounts of water, excessive urination and drooling.

According to state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans.

For more information on CWD visit the Board of Animal Health website.


Chronic wasting disease in 3 elk among 560 shot near Rochester Fears that disease could spread to wild deer prompted slaughter.

By MATT McKINNEY, Star Tribune

Last update: October 30, 2009 - 11:17 PM

Sharpshooters killed a farm herd of some 560 elk near Rochester this month, and tests of the animals found three infected with chronic wasting disease, state officials said Friday. The slaughter was ordered after one of the animals tested positive for the disease in January.

The animals lived on the 1,300-acre Elk Farm LLC near Pine Island, the largest elk farm in the state. The farm, bought by Tower Investments of Woodland, Calif., in 2006, is part of a 2,300-acre tract set to become a bioscience research and manufacturing center called Elk Run, with offices, shops, homes and 15 to 25 companies.

The carcasses were sent to a landfill, except for the three that tested positive, which were destroyed at a special facility at the University of Minnesota. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid Tower Investments a fair market value for the elk, said Paul Anderson, assistant director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

The USDA sharpshooters began shooting the animals last month. Tests were conducted at a USDA lab in Ames, Iowa.

Chronic wasting disease kills elk and deer after infecting their brains and nervous system. The animals spread it through nose-to-nose contact. It does not spread to people. It was first detected in farmed elk in 2002, prompting fears that it could spread to the state's population of some 1 million wild deer.

Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329

Monday, January 05, 2009



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