Wisconsin deer farm quarantined as highly contagious and deadly chronic wasting disease is discovered among a herd of 300
- The infected doe arrived from another nearby farm
- Symptoms include weight loss, stumbling, listlessness, and death.
- It is caused by an unwanted protein called a prion that attacks the brain.
Farmers in the Upper Midwest are nervously waiting to see if a highly contagious and still deadly brain disease has spread after an outbreak at a Wisconsin deer farm.
The chronic wasting disease has been detected in a three-year-old doe at Thundeer Trophy Whitetails in Washburn County, and the 150-acre farm has been placed under quarantine while scientists test its other 300 animals.
Closely linked to the BSE that ravaged Britain’s dairy industry in the 1980s, the disease was discovered in a three-year-old doe that had been transferred from nearby Rodenkirch Whitetails and Genetics on October 4.
Cullings have taken place on 22 farms since 2002, when the disease was first detected in the state, although no cases of the disease have been recorded in humans.
There is no vaccine or cure for this disease caused by a protein called prion and which leads to weight loss, stumbling, listlessness and death.
A three-year-old doe was found to have the disease after arriving at the 150-acre Washburn County farm.
The prion responsible for the disease can survive for months in the soil
Twenty-two farms have been forced to cull deer since they were first detected in the state in 2002.
“CWD is different from more familiar bacterial or viral illnesses,” warns the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on its website.
“Prions are extremely resistant to disinfection and can remain in the soil for a long time, which makes their containment difficult.”
“Prions can accumulate in an infected deer for over a year and visible symptoms develop slowly.” This is why infected deer may appear healthy before entering the later stages of the disease.
The disease had not been observed either on the farm or in Rodenkirch at the time of the transfer of the goat, although a case was reported at the suppliers in March.
The state has about 300 deer ranches or game preserves.