Developing strategies to prevent chronic wasting disease
A disease of the nervous system exclusive to members of the cervid family — deer, elk, moose and other hoofed, antlered, ruminant mammals — chronic wasting disease is a fatal disease with no known cure or vaccine.
October 1, 2018
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, including researcher William Porter, 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. No new cases in New York have been documented since then.
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, more than 60 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.