MADISON — Four more elk herds have been quarantined in the investigation of a case of chronic wasting disease found in an elk on a Manitowoc County farm.

The herds contain animals that came from the infected Manitowoc County herd. These animals did not originate in Minnesota, as the infected animal did.

Animal health officials at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection emphasize that it is unclear whether these four herds have actually been exposed and that there is no sign of disease among the animals. A quarantine means only that no animals may move from the farms while investigators examine records and talk to the owners; it does not imply that disease is present. All four owners are cooperating with the investigation. None have ever had a CWD-positive animal on their farms.

The four herds are owned by:

* Stan and Mary Bajdan, Faraway Land Elk Ranch, Wild Rose in Waushara County, 59-elk herd

* John J. Michels and Michael Bennin, Irish Road Elk, Chilton in Calumet County, 84-elk herd

* Dennis Koenig, Hidden Springs Elk Ranch, Kiel in Manitowoc County, 97-elk herd

* Herbert Krueger Sr., KK Ranch, Valders in Manitowoc County, 80-elk herd

All four herds contain only elk. All bought animals from Eugene Sperber, Valders, after he legally imported elk from a Minnesota herd later found to be infected with CWD. Last week a 6-year-old elk cow that Sperber received from Minnesota tested positive for CWD.

It is not certain whether the animals in these four newly quarantined herds ever came in contact with the elk from Minnesota. Any or all of these four herds will be released from quarantine if investigators determine that they were not exposed to CWD.

“We appreciate the cooperation we’ve gotten from the industry in this investigation,” said Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt, acting state veterinarian. “We’ll continue to manage CWD investigations as we’ve always handled animal disease investigations. We follow the paper trail, we quarantine, we determine exposure, we test if necessary and release quarantines when we can. It’s a tried-and-true method that helps us control disease outbreaks.”