LANSING — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has confirmed two cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) at two separate farmed deer facilities, one in Mecosta County and one in Montcalm County. The two infected deer, a two-year-old and a four-year-old, were discovered through routine testing as part of the state’s CWD surveillance program for farmed deer.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. The disease can be transmitted directly from one animal to another, as well as indirectly through the environment. While an infected deer may appear healthy for months or years, it will eventually display abnormal behavior, progressive weight loss, and physical debilitation in the latter stages of the disease.
The presence of CWD in farmed and free-ranging deer is not new to Michigan. Since 2008, and including these new cases, CWD has been detected at eight Michigan deer farms in the following counties: Kent, Mecosta (3), Montcalm (3), and Newaygo.
With free-ranging deer, CWD was first discovered in May 2015, and cases have been found across nine counties in Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. To date, while no free-ranging white-tailed deer have tested positive for CWD in Mecosta County, the disease has been detected in 123 free-ranging deer from Montcalm County.
“Since chronic wasting disease can significantly impact all Michigan deer, it is vitally important to detect the disease as early as possible,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. “Early detection allows MDARD and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to work in collaboration with farmers and hunters to stem the spread and manage this serious disease.”
As part of MDARD’s disease response, investigations are being conducted to rule out exposure to any other farmed deer.
Currently, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals should not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.
— Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
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