Newaygo County, Mich. — Chronic Wasting Disease has been confirmed in three white-tailed deer by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Developement (MDARD).
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. CWD can be transmitted directly from one animal to another, as well as indirectly through the environment. Infected animals may display abnormal behavior, progressive weight loss and physical debilitation.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer in December vetoed legislation lifting the ban on deer and elk bating in Michigan, citing CWD concerns for her actions against the bill.
The legislation would have allowed hunters to bait and feed for deer and elk in the Lower Peninsula and portions of the Upper Peninsula.
“I remain fully committed to protecting Michigan’s wildlife, public health, and agriculture jobs,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This legislation would’ve increased the chance of spreading wildlife disease within wildlife populations and the beef and dairy industries, which are vital to Michigan’s economy. That’s not a risk we can afford to take.”
To date, 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 not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.
The DNR is asking people who observe unusually thin or strangely-acting deer to call the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab at 517-336-5030 or fill out and submit the online observation report found on the DNR website.
More information about CWD can be found at Michigan.gov/CWD.