LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed two cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) at two farmed deer facilities in Mecosta County and Montcalm County.
According to a release from MDARD,
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.
Since 2008, chronic wasting disease has been found across 8 deer farms across the state.
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.”
At this point, no humans have interacted CWD, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that no infected deer meat be consumed by humans or domestic animals.