Elk found positive for chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. – An elk on a Manitowoc County, Wis., farm has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, reported Monday that a 6-year-old female elk owned by Eugene Sperber tested positive for the disease. It was sampled after it was killed in a fight with another elk.

Infected. The elk was one of 20 that Sperber imported in December 2000 and January 2001 from a Stearns County, Minn., herd that was later found to be infected.

One of the imported animals had died previously and was not tested. The remaining animals had been under quarantine since September, when Wisconsin animal health officials learned that they may have been exposed to chronic wasting disease.

The other 18 imported elk have been killed for testing. Results are still pending.

Fate. Officials have not determined the fate of the remaining 180 elk on Sperber’s farm. These animals have been under quarantine since Jan. 31, when Minnesota officials confirmed exposure.

The herd has been on the monitoring program since April 2001, when it was still a voluntary pilot program. It is now mandatory for farms moving live animals.

This is the seventh farm-raised animal in Wisconsin to test positive for chronic wasting disease. The other six were whitetail deer.

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