ST. PAUL (AP) -- The University of Minnesota's veterinary diagnostic laboratory has offered to test brain stem samples for chronic wasting disease from deer harvested during this fall's firearms season.
The option will be available to any hunter who wants a deer tested by local veterinarians and the diagnostic lab. There is a fee.
So far, 150 veterinarians at 98 clinics have agreed to collect brain stem samples for testing.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to test between 5,000 and 6,000 hunter-harvested deer during the firearms deer season as part of its ongoing surveillance program.
The demand for the tests, however, is expected to be much higher, said Ed Boggess, assistant director of the DNR wildlife division.
"We know this will give some hunters reassurance," Boggess said. "However, based on the best scientific information available, both state and federal health officials continue to believe CWD is not transmittable to people through eating venison, or by any other means."
The university will only test samples submitted by approved veterinarians. The list of those veterinarians is available on the Internet at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us
Hunters who want their deer tested through the university should register their deer before taking it to the veterinarian for sampling. The test may require the animal's head to be removed.
So far, the disease -- which causes deer and elk to become dehydrated and weak and die -- has been discovered in Minnesota in only one captive elk.
Third group of Aitkin herd test negative for chronic wasting disease
ST. PAUL (AP) -- A third group of 12 elk from an Aitkin County herd has tested negative for chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said Tuesday.
The herd was placed under quarantine Aug. 30, after a bull elk became the first animal in the state known to die of the disease. The latest testing brings the total number of negative cases at the farm to 39.
In addition, 101 wild deer surrounding the farm have been killed and are being tested to determine whether the disease, a fatal brain and nervous system disorder of elk and deer, has spread. So far, no deer have tested positive, including the latest group of 22. A total of 47 deer have tested negative so far.
"It's very encouraging that nearly half of the wild deer culled from the area surrounding the farm have not tested positive for the disease," said Mike DonCarlos, research manager for the DNR Division of Wildlife.
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