DNR: Deer Positive for CWD Came from Northern Wisconsin
A generic test of a deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease in northern Wisconsin - 186 miles from the closest known outbreak in the wild - shows that the deer came from the north and not from an area where the deadly disease is currently found.
The state Department of Natural Resources said Monday that a lymph node from the female deer came from the same genetic stock tissue taken from other northern Wisconsin deer, including the Shell Lake area of Washburn County.
The DNR announced April 2 that a deer, a 3½ year old doe, from Washburn County that was shot last fall had tested positive for the wildlife disease.
The genetic findings, the DNR says, means that the deer did not inexplicably find its way to the north.
Tami Ryan, wildlife health section chief with the DNR, said it also confirmed there wasn't a mix-up at some point in the testing process - the deer wasn't a positive from southern Wisconsin, where the disease has been known to persist since 2002.
Also, because genetic testing showed it came from the wild deer population, "there is probably little reason to think that she originated from a game farm," Ryan said.
The genetics comparison was made possible by tissue that had been collected by a postdoctoral geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Stacie Robinson has taken data sets of deer from the north and two areas in southern Wisconsin where the disease is known to exist.
The discovery of the disease in Washburn County in April was a setback for deer hunting and the state's unsuccessful attempts to try to control the disease.
Chronic wasting disease belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy and was first detected in Dane County.
Last month, DNR officials attributed a four-month-plus delay in producing test results from the deer to a communications problem among employees of the agency.