Deer in Mower County tests positive for rabiesPublished 11:43am Monday, November 5, 2012
DNR says it’s the first in the state to test positive
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says a deer found in Mower County tested positive for rabies.lights
According to DNR area wildlife manager Jeanine Vorland, a Mower resident reported a strange-acting deer. DNR officials found the deer shortly before it died and had it tested for rabies about three weeks ago. Results came back positive.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health’s records, that is the first deer to ever test positive for rabies within the state.
“This is just another reminder of how important it is to vaccinate [other animals like horses],” said Joni Scheftel, state public health veterinarian. She added it’s important to vaccinate other livestock and pets, as well, as they can also come in contact with infected wild animals.
While it is the first positive test in deer in Minnesota, DNR and MDH officials said that doesn’t mean it never happens, as other affected deer likely die in the woods before ever being seen.
“That doesn’t mean it is the first deer and the only deer,” Scheftel said.
Scheftel said about 60 to 70 animals test positive for rabies each year in Minnesota, usually bats and skunks.
People who see deer acting strangely — drooling, excessively drinking water or acting intoxicated — are encouraged to notify their local DNR officials.
“If you have a sick deer, your best bet is to call a conservation officer and report that,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program supervisor. “The best course of action is to not shoot that deer and handle it — it’s to call a wildlife conservation officer.”
DNR officials are also conducting tests for Chronic Wasting Disease at many registration locations during this year’s deer hunts. The first positive test for CWD in Minnesota was recorded in 2010 near Pine Island, and testing in that area is again mandatory this year on deer that are harvested. A deer in Shell Lake, Wis., near the east-central Minnesota border, recently tested positive for CWD, as well, so Minnesota DNR officials have increased testing in that area.