MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that an elk herd at a Burnett County breeding farm that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in August 2019 was depopulated on April 23, 2020. Other than the initial CWD positive, none of the remaining five elk tested positive for the disease.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services depopulated the herd, and samples were sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for testing. Last year, a 6-year-old male elk at the facility was euthanized due to an injury and, although it showed no symptoms of CWD, it tested positive for the disease (see initial release here: Burnett County Elk Tests Positive for CWD). The herd had been under quarantine ever since.
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The farm owner will receive federal indemnity for the depopulated animals after completing the required cleaning and disinfecting. The farm will not be permitted to hold CWD-susceptible species in the elk pen for five years, and during that time it must maintain fences and submit to routine inspections.
CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk and moose caused by an infectious protein called a prion that affects the animal's brain, and testing for CWD can only be performed after the animal’s death. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement and permit requirements.