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Federal lab confirms Montcalm County deer tested positive for CWD

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that the 1.5-year-old buck, harvested last month in Sidney Township (Montcalm County), was confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. This is the 11th case of CWD to be confirmed in a free-ranging deer in Michigan.

Since the harvest of that deer, three additional suspect positive deer – all from Montcalm County, in Pine, Reynolds and Sidney townships – are awaiting confirmation.

“Thank you to these hunters for checking their deer, which is required for these areas. Hunter assistance is critical in the ongoing fight against the spread of CWD,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist. “The response from hunters so far shows a strong willingness to help, and it’s clear that more hunters are committed to getting their deer tested.”

There are three Core CWD Areas that have mandatory check. To determine if a hunting location is within a mandatory check area, or to find the nearest DNR deer check station, visit michigan.gov/cwd.

“In a short amount of time, without many deer tested from these areas, we are finding more CWD-positive deer,” Stewart said. “This is concerning. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for hunters from the surrounding areas that are outside of mandatory check locations to have their deer tested, too.”

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.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, from environments contaminated with these fluids or the carcass of a diseased animal.

To learn more about chronic wasting disease, visit michigan.gov/cwd.