MONTCALM COUNTY, MI – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has confirmed a case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a four-year-old white-tailed deer from a Montcalm County deer farm. The case was found through samples that were submitted for 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. CWD 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 discovery of CWD in farmed and free-ranging deer is not new to the state of Michigan. Since 2008, and including this new case, CWD has been detected at six Michigan deer farms in the following counties: Kent, Mecosta (2), Montcalm (2), and Newaygo.
With free-ranging deer, CWD was first discovered in May 2015, and cases have been found across nine counties in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. To date, CWD has been detected in 123 free-ranging deer in Montcalm County.
“As chronic wasting disease affects both farmed and free-ranging deer, MDARD works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the state’s deer farmers to detect and manage this serious disease,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. “Due to the nature of the disease, it is imperative that farmers, hunters, DNR, and MDARD continue to work in collaboration to protect all of Michigan’s deer.”
As part of MDARD’s disease response, an investigation will be conducted to rule out exposure of 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 infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.