Remote training opportunity available for disease sampling, plus a letter to poultry producers

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

June 2020

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing for farmed cervids at inspected slaughter

ELISA test

The Board of Animal Health and USDA approved the use of the CWD ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoassay) test for farmed cervids harvested at state or federally inspected slaughter facilities. This test is a screening test for CWD and can be performed faster than the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test for CWD. IHC is the standard test used on farmed cervids and is required when they die or are harvested on the farm.

The CWD ELISA test requires additional steps in the collection and shipment of samples to the laboratory. Tissues collected from a farmed cervid for the CWD ELISA test must be divided in two parts with half the tissues kept fresh and chilled and the other half put in formalin. All the samples must be shipped to the lab via an overnight carrier. Currently, this test is not available at the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and is being performed at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) in Madison, Wisconsin.

Starting July 1, 2020, the Board will pay for testing Minnesota farmed cervids, harvested at state or federally inspected slaughter facilities, using the CWD ELISA test at the WVDL. Producers or the slaughter facilities will be responsible for the cost of packaging and shipping the samples to the Wisconsin lab. The CWD ELISA test results are usually available within 48 to 72 hours after the lab receives them. With a ‘not detected’ test result on the CWD ELISA test, the slaughter facility can release the inspection-hold on a carcass.

The Board has a customized WVDL submission form and procedure outline that must be used for the Board to cover the costs of this testing at the WVDL. If you are interested in getting more information regarding the use of this test for Minnesota farmed cervids harvested at an inspected slaughter facility, please contact Linda Glaser at 651-249-1963 or

Keep reading...

The USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System's 2020 swine study postponed to 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and impacts on the swine industry, the 2020 NAHMS studies have been postponed to 2021. The timelines for the studies will remain the same, just delayed one year.

The studies are broken into two segments. The large-enterprise segment of the study will take an in-depth look at swine operations with 1,000 or more pigs, and the small-enterprise segment of the study will concentrate on swine operations with fewer than 1,000 pigs

The new dates for 2021:

  • Small-enterprise: June 2021 to August 2021.
  • Large-enterprise: selection letters mailed out the week of July 5, 2021. Face to Face interviews July 2021 to January 2022.

End of vND response in California

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is transitioning the virulent Newcastle disease (vND) efforts in southern California from a response focus to implementing a prevention plan aimed at keeping vND from recurring in the region. Even with extensive testing taking place, APHIS has not confirmed any new vND cases since February 1, 2020. As a result, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is removing its vND quarantine.

To guard against the risk of future outbreaks, the prevention plan led by the California Avian Health Education Network (CAHEN) will focus on disease monitoring and continual support for biosecurity training. Biosecurity practices work, and were essential in minimizing vND spread to commercial farms in the area and were used successfully in other poultry disease outbreaks.

Biosecurity must be followed by anyone who owns or handles poultry. All backyard poultry owners and commercial operations also need to routinely check birds for signs of illness and report sick birds to the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory at 320-231-5170.

Chronic Wasting Disease Sample Collector Authorization training


A FREE Classroom training for those interested in becoming authorized by the Board to collect tissues from Minnesota farmed Cervidae for CWD testing.

Participants will review CWD information, view a tissue collection demonstration and learn the procedure for submitting samples to the laboratory.


Friday, July 10 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.


This is a web-based training using Microsoft Teams. You must RSVP to Dr. Karina Burger by Wednesday, July 8 to participate in the training and to receive the direct invitation.


The training is for veterinarians, producers, technicians or anyone interested in becoming authorized to collect CWD samples from Minnesota farmed Cervidae.

Veterinarians and technicians can also receive 1.5 Continuing Education credits by taking this training.

Other details?

In-person training for sample collection and subsequent submission of two acceptable samples is required in addition to the classroom training, to complete the authorization process.

A letter to poultry producers about biosecurity

Dear Minnesota Poultry Producer,

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Veterinary Services (USDA-APHIS-VS) is giving producers until September 20, 2020 to have a written biosecurity plan in place, audited and rated satisfactory. This is a requirement of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). The Board of Animal Health (Board) is responsible for the biosecurity auditing process.

If you would like to have a biosecurity plan audit conducted and have not been contacted by the Board please call our office at 320-231-5170 or email us at so we can provide you the necessary information, details and timeline. The biosecurity plan audits are paper audits, no site visits are required.

Producers without an audit will not be eligible for USDA-APHIS-VS indemnity or compensation funds in the event Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is detected in poultry on any of your facilities. The Board with the support of the Emergency Disease Management Committee is incorporating the same policy into the Minnesota Initial State Response and Containment Plan (Minnesota Plan) if an introduction of H5/H7 Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) is identified in poultry on any of your facilities.

While all commercial operations are encouraged to participate regardless of how many birds are raised, the USDA-APHIS-VS exempted producers from the auditing requirement if their facilities fall into one of the following categories:

  • Commercial table-egg laying premises with less than 75,000 birds.
  • Commercial broiler premises that raise less than 100,000 broilers annually.
  • Commercial meat-type turkey premises that raise less than 30,000 turkeys annually.
  • Raised for release upland game bird/waterfowl premises that raise less than 25,000 birds annually.

To view auditing materials and additional resources, visit our website at: