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Test confirms deer shot in Minnesota had CWD

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials received confirmation from a national laboratory this week verifying that the sample from a southeastern Minnesota white-tailed deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

The finding by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory at Ames, Iowa, had been expected and confirms a preliminary diagnosis by the University of Minnesota.

The DNR announced on Jan. 21 that a deer harvested by an archer in November 2010 near Pine Island likely would test positive for CWD, a fatal brain disease that affects deer, elk and moose but not cattle or humans.

The DNR is implementing its CWD response plan, the first step of which involves an aerial survey of deer numbers in the Pine Island area. During the next two weeks DNR oficials will be working with landowners, collecting additional information and will share its plans and findings at a public meeting in February.

The confirmation marks the first time CWD has been found in Minnesota's wild deer herd.

"This is very unfortunate," said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. "Minnesotans have done much to prevent CWD from entering our wild deer population. The good news is that we are well prepared for an attempt to control the disease and to possibly eliminate it."