Chronic Wasting Disease is a progressive,
debilitating and invariably fatal disease of deer and
has been found in greatest numbers among free-ranging
deer and elk in north central Colorado and southeastern
- First recognized in 1967.
- Clinical signs include progressive weight loss,
behavior changes, and listlessness.
- Classified as a transmissible spongiform
encephalopathy or "prion" disease.
Transmission between animals is likely by
animal-to-animal contact and/or contamination of feed or
water sources with saliva, urine or feces from a
- CWD has affected mule deer, white-tailed deer,
black-tailed deer and elk.
- A few CWD cases have been found in western
Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
- CWD has been diagnosed in farmed elk herds in
several states including Colorado, Kansas, Montana,
Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
- CWD has been identified in both free-ranging
white-tailed deer and privately owned elk in
- No CWD cases have been found in Minnesota to date.
Current information indicates that
CWD does not cause illness in people.
- The known prion diseases of humans and domestic
animals are different than CWD. Public health and
wildlife officials have developed some recommendations
- Do not consume meat from any deer or elk that
looks or acts sick.
- Hunters should wear gloves when field dressing
carcasses and wash hands and instruments thoroughly
after field dressing.
- Do not consume brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen,
tonsils, and lymph nodes from deer and elk.
Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources, Board of
Animal Health, Department of Health and the University
of Minnesota are actively collaborating to watch for
signs of CWD and keep the public informed.
Click here to check out the
Minnesota DNR website for more information.