February 13, 2016

Deer on Marathon County game farm tests positive for CWD

State agriculture officials say a deer from a Marathon County game farm has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The five-year-old buck was culled November 5 from an unidentified game farm with 370 animals. State Division of Animal Health spokeswoman Raechelle Cline says ag officials will have to do some legwork now to determine if other animals on the farm have been infected as well. She says staff will a look at all of the farms records and try to trace the animal’s history and its movements. They will also trace the other animals that have moved onto and off of the property since the deer was put there.

Cline says the issue will be finding out where exactly the disease came from. CWD is spread by special proteins called prions. If prisons are present in the soil, she says they can survive there indefinitely.

If the herd has been infected, Cline says drastic measures might have to be taken. “Most likely it will be a depopulation situation where they will have to depopulate their herd, and that will be determined by the state veterinarians.”

A herd in Portage County tested positive for CWD in 2006 and an entire farm was culled. Cline says a full testing of the Marathon County farm could take some time.

The farm has been quarantined, but hunts will be allowed to continue, provided deer are handled properly.

Raymond Neupert, WSAU

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