St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The CWD Surveillance Program run by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources continues to identify deer infected by Chronic Wasting Disease in southeastern Minnesota but officials say the fatal disease is still relatively rare across the state.

A statement from the DNR says lab testing has confirmed 27 wild deer harvested by hunters in the disease management and control zone near Rochester were infected by CWD. Those positive test results came from over 12,600 deer submitted by hunters for testing in this region. About 4500 additional wild deer were submitted for testing by hunters in the north-central Minnesota disease management zone and the central Minnesota surveillance area but none were found to be infected.

DNR officials noted there was one other CWD positive deer found in southeastern Minnesota. It was among the 282 deer that were found dead or reported sick that were tested for the fatal brain disorder.

“Overall, this is good news for Minnesota’s wild deer. The disease is still relatively rare across the state, and the CWD-positive test results this year came from areas where we had the most risk,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager.

The state agency says sharpshooters from the federal government are expected to be put to work next month to complete targeted culling of the wild deer herd in localized areas of southeastern Minnesota where CWD has been detected. The venison from the deer will be donated to the Share of the Harvest program if it tests negative for Chronic Wasting Disease.

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