National News

Suspected case of chronic wasting disease in Michigan deer reported

Posted October 2, 2017 12:29 p.m. EDT

— A deer taken during the youth deer hunting season is likely to be the 10th free-ranging deer in the state found to have chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The 3 1/2 -year-old female deer was killed in Montcalm Township, in Montcalm County during the September youth season.

The hunter took the animal to the DNR check station and submitted it, preliminary tests indicate it may test positive for CWD.

"We cannot thank this family enough for bringing their deer to a check station," said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR state wildlife veterinarian. "Without their effort, the disease may have gone undetected in this area. We encourage hunters from any part of the state, especially the south-central Lower Peninsula, to have their deer tested."

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose.

Some CWD-infected animals display abnormal behaviors, progressive weight loss, and physical debilitation. However, the DNR says some deer can be infected for years without showing any signs.

"Infected deer don't necessarily look sick," Straka said. "Having your deer tested is the only way to know if it has chronic wasting disease."

There is no cure for CWD.

Since May 2015, the DNR has actively conducted surveillance for CWD. To date, more than 14,000 deer have been tested since the first positive case was found, with nine cases of CWD confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer previously identified in Ingham and Clinton counties.

There is no evidence to suggest that CWD presents any risk to humans, either through contact with an infected animal or from handling venison, according to the DNR. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by people or domestic animals.