Chronic wasting found in wild deer in central Minnesota

A wild deer in Crow Wing County has been confirmed to have chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Friday.

It's the first time state officials have found the disease in a wild deer outside southeastern Minnesota.

Responding to the news, Gov. Tim Walz called for $4.57 million in new spending over the next two fiscal years and $1.1 million annually after that to combat the disease.

"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 said the deer, an adult female, was found dead near Merrifield, Minn., north of Brainerd, on Jan. 23. Test results confirmed CWD Thursday, the agency said. Officials are working on the next steps in what they say will be a swift response to the new finding.

Chronic wasting is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health.

The disease has spread rapidly in other states. In parts of Wisconsin, an estimated 40 to 50 percent of deer are infected.

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