Suspected cases of chronic wasting disease in MI deer doubles

Alicia Farmer
Декабря 7, 2017

The latest cases bring the tally of confirmed or suspected infections in the state to 30 whitetail deer since 2015.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a Montana mule deer has been confirmed on the northern border with Canada.

Such a hunt has been ordered for the area south of Billings, where the other diseased deer were found. It says several thousand samples await testing by Michigan State University, so the number of chronic wasting disease cases still could rise.

The test results mark the fifth case of CWD discovered in Montana wild deer this fall. It is very rare that a CWD suspect will not be confirmed as a CWD-positive animal, but it is possible, according to the DNR.

An incident command team defines an initial response area (IRA) around where an infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution.

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The DNR says that hunters are their best ally against the disease and continues to encourage hunters to submit their deer for CWD surveillance and testing.

From 2015 to 2016, four deer in DeWitt, Eagle and Watertown townships tested positive; in 2017, one suspected deer was found in Westphalia Township, all in Clinton County.

"Hunters are our best ally in understanding the magnitude of chronic wasting disease in MI", said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization recommend hunters check their deer before consuming.

Since 2015, when the first CWD-positive deer was found, the DNR has tested approximately 23,000 deer. The disease is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose.

This is the first year any free-ranging deer in Montcalm County have been found to have the disease. It causes a spongy degeneration of the brain, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and, ultimately, the animal's death.

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