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Health Team

4 Minnesota deer test positive for chronic wasting disease

Posted 4:11 p.m. Thursday
Updated 4:17 p.m. Thursday

— Four deer in central Minnesota have tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health says the deer that tested positive for the deadly neurological infection are from a herd of 14 white-tailed deer in Meeker County that were euthanized last month. The herd was a part of an investigation linked to a 2016 case of the disease in Crow Wing County.

Authorities this week quarantined a Wright County farm where two of the infected animals from Meeker County lived as fawns in 2014, Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/2qVUhRW ) reported. Board assistant director Dr. Linda Glaser said the Wright County herd isn't considered infected.

"Herd movements are restricted, and the herd will be closely monitored until 2019," she said.

The farm where the animals were found is empty and won't host captive deer or elk for five years.

Department of Natural Resources officials say 11 wild deer have been tested positive for chronic wasting disease since 2016. The illness is caused by an abnormal protein that damages nerve and brain tissue.

The disease is spread to other animals through close contact and is fatal to elk and deer. Authorities say the infection isn't known to harm people, but they advise against eating meat from animals that are infected.

The disease was detected in captive elk herds in Minnesota about 15 years ago. The Natural Resources Department said animals with the infection have since been found in four other herds through 2013.

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