Developing strategies to prevent chronic wasting disease

A disease of the nervous system exclusive to members of the cervid family — deer, elk, moose, caribou and other hoofed, antlered, ruminant mammals — chronic wasting disease is a fatal disease with no known cure or vaccine.

October 1, 2018

Deer

A disease of the nervous system exclusive to members of the cervid family — deer, elk, moose, caribou and other hoofed, antlered, ruminant mammals — chronic wasting disease is a fatal disease with no known cure or vaccine. CWD spreads through direct fluid contact and the infectious protein agent is shed into the environment, where it can persist for over a decade.

Since CWD was first discovered in Michigan in 2015, MSU AgBioResearch scientists have begun work on a plan to identify areas of the state at high risk for CWD based on deer behavior and population dynamics. The team previously produced a similar plan in New York after CWD was first discovered there in 2005, and by 2010 no new CWD cases were being reported.

The plan depends on a model that combines deer population density, proximity to bordering states with CWD problems and disease transmission to predict where CWD will likely emerge and spread.

  • Since 2015, 57 cases of CWD have been identified in free-ranging, wild deer in Michigan out of nearly 31,000 that have been tested.
  • Michigan has nearly 800,000 licensed hunters, 90% of whom hunt white-tailed deer.
  • Deer hunting contributes over $2 billion annually to the Michigan economy.

Tags: natural resources

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