Chronic wasting disease suspected in 30 Mich. deer

Henrietta Strickland
December 7, 2017

Officials say a number of deer believed to have been infected with chronic wasting disease were found during Michigan's recently completed firearms hunting season.

In Kent County, three CWD-positive deer were found in Nelson and Spencer townships.

The test results mark the fifth incident of the disease discovered in Montana wild deer this fall. The other four deer were all from south of Billings near the Wyoming border.

This is the first year any free-ranging deer in Montcalm County have been found to have the disease.

But Michigan has a comprehensive response plan and will continue to work with hunters to contain the disease.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said Tuesday that a mule deer tested positive for the disease after being shot November 12, north of Chester near the Canadian border.

An incident command team will define an initial response area around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special hunt. This hunt will come before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at their meeting Thursday in Helena for final approval. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

Opened and staffed additional deer check stations to better accommodate hunters within Core CWD Areas.

Chronic wasting disease can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals.

High rates of CWD in a deer population could significantly affect the number of deer, and also could significantly depress the potential for older age classes, especially the more mature bucks. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). It causes a spongy degeneration of the brain, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and, ultimately, the animal's death.

To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans.

The DNR says anyone who harvests deer in Montcalm County should have their deer tested by bringing them to a deer check station.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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