Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Research Manager Loui Cornicelli will be our guest on the KDHL AM Minnesota program Monday.

The program begins at 9:30AM and Cornicelli will be joining us by telephone to talk about Chronic Wasting Disease.

I grew up in Fillmore County where to date seven deer have been discovered with CWD and it's prompted the DNR to implement a herd culling plan in the area. This has been met with some concern from some of my hunting friends in the area.

I visited with one of my friends recently, who pointed out there are many states experiencing CWD in their deer and wondered if it was simply more prevalent because of the testing being conducted.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It causes a a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.

Cases occur most commonly in adult animals, but also in yearlings.  The disease is progressive and always fatal. The most obvious and consistent clinical sign is weight loss over time.

CWD-affected animals continue to eat but consume less and less food and gradually lose their body condition. Excessive drinking and urination are common in the terminal stages.

Behavioral changes also occur in the majority of cases, including decreased interactions with other animals, listlessness, lowering of the head, blank facial expression and repetitive walking in set patterns.

A special deer hunt was recently conducted in the Fillmore County area.

You might recall a similar method to address CWD was made in the Oronoco and Pine Island area in 2011 when 800 deer were taken to address the discovery of a few infected deer in that area.

The origin of the disease is unknown. It was first recognized in captive mule deer in Colorado in the 1960s.

According to the CWD Alliance where most of this information comes from, computer modeling suggests it may have been present in free ranging populations of mule deer for more than four decades.

Cattle and other domestic livestock appear to be resistant. There have been no reported cases of natural transmission of CWD from infected elk or deer to domestic livestock. It also has not been reported to affect humans.

I hope you can tune in at 9:30AM and learn more about the Minnesota DNR efforts to eliminate CWD in southeastern Minnesota.

If you can't listen at 9:30AM, go to our YouTube channel and watch the program at your convenience.

Minnesota DNR CWD Map- courtesy of MN DNR
Minnesota DNR CWD Map- courtesy of MN DNR

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