Michigan DNR anticipates delay in chronic wasting disease test results

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources advises hunters that, due to the delivery of testing kits being delayed by the supplier, obtaining chronic wasting disease test results will take longer than normal. This situation is not unique to Michigan; there is a national shortage. The Michigan DNR originally placed its testing kits order earlier this summer.

The DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory continues to collect and submit samples to Michigan State University. Samples will be processed by MSU as soon as the testing kits arrive, which is expected to occur the week of Dec. 4.

The testing delay will affect deer that arrived at the lab the week of Nov. 27. The DNR asks hunters to be patient during this delay.

“The DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory staff has been processing over 1,000 deer heads per day for disease testing,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “The lab has been operating evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure the most rapid turnaround time possible. We want to provide hunters with answers as quickly as we can.”

Hunters who have submitted deer for testing can check their results online by visiting michigan.gov/dnrlab.

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 thanks all hunters who have brought in deer for CWD testing and encourages anyone who would like their deer tested to bring it to a deer check station.

“Continued hunter assistance is critical in the ongoing fight against the spread of CWD,” said Mason. “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.

Chronic wasting disease 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 and how deer are tested for CWD, visit michigan.gov/cwd.