Chronic wasting disease found in deer killed near Preston

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Whitetail buck
A whitetail buck in a Twin Cities park.
MPR Photo | Tim Post

A deer killed by a hunter during the opening weekend of archery season in southeastern Minnesota has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

The adult male deer was killed about a mile east of Preston, Minn., within the state's management zone for chronic wasting disease where hunters must submit their kills for sampling. Eighteen deer harvested in the disease management zone have tested positive for the disease since fall 2016.

"This discovery highlights the importance and necessity of our disease surveillance efforts, and we're appreciative of hunters' willingness to help us combat CWD by complying with mandatory sampling regulations and carcass movement restrictions," Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR, said in a statement.

Chronic wasting is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Since 2002, the disease has been identified on eight Minnesota deer and elk farms and in wild deer in parts of southeastern Minnesota.

The DNR launched precautionary testing last year in central and north-central Minnesota after CWD was found on farms in Meeker and Crow Wing counties. No new cases were found in wild deer.