First detection of CWD in new area of Minnesota triggers guidance update
For the first time, a wild white-tailed deer has been found with chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the city limits of Grand Rapids in northern Minnesota, triggering the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to update surveillance plans across the state.
"We've always looked at CWD as a disease that could impact the entire state, yet implemented disease management actions as needed in each area where CWD was found," said Kelly Straka, the DNR's wildlife section manager, in a press release. "This new discovery doesn't make CWD a statewide problem, but it does mean we need to take more of a statewide approach."
The DNR said statewide sampling will be the crux of its CWD response plan, and the agency will be expanding the taxidermist network (Partner Sampling Program) statewide. The DNR also said it will investigate options for hunters to use a self-mailing kit for free testing statewide.
The DNR has detected CWD in eight areas of Minnesota, with less than 1% of tested deer positive for the fatal prion disease, which can also affect related cervids like elk and moose. But active surveillance for CWD has not occurred in Grand Rapids since 2004.
The disease has been detected in 29 US states and in four Canadian provinces.
Mar 22 DNR press release
Nebraska reports second high-path avian flu outbreak
Agriculture officials in Nebraska yesterday reported a large highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak in commercial poultry, coming a week after the state reported its first outbreak, which occurred in a backyard flock.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) said the latest outbreak occurred at a broiler farm in Butler County that houses 570,000 birds. Butler County is about 50 miles west of Omaha. Besides the earlier outbreak in a backyard flock in Merrick County, federal officials have reported three detections in wild geese from three other Nebraska counties.
The outbreaks involve the Eurasian H5N1 strain that has so far led to the loss of nearly 13.7 million birds in 17 states since January.
In related developments, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported 92 more detections from wild bird testing, raising the total since January to 477.
The latest test results include the first three positive findings in South Dakota, all involving wild geese found dead in Charles Mix County, where the virus had already been implicated in two outbreaks at commercial poultry farms. The other wild bird positive tests were from already affected states: Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Mar 22 NDA statement
USDA APHIS wild bird page
USDA APHIS poultry outbreak page