Multistate CWD Strategic Planning Initiative

MSU faculty member Dr. Sonja Christensen has assembled a consortium of over 14 universities, multiple state and federal agencies, and Canadian provinces to identify five thematic areas where further research for CWD is needed.

Since its discovery in Colorado in 1967, chronic wasting disease (CWD) has spread to at least 26
U.S. states, three Canadian provinces, South Korea, Norway, and Sweden. The first detection in
Michigan occurred at a captive deer facility in 2008. Chronic wasting disease has since emerged in
the free-ranging deer population when a deer in Meridian Township with advanced CWD infection was
discovered in 2015. Subsequently, additional free-ranging and farmed deer have tested positive in
an ever-expanding region of the Southern Lower Peninsula, and one free-ranging deer has tested
positive in the Upper Peninsula along the border of Wisconsin. Evidence of primate and livestock
susceptibility, environmental contamination, and the ability of plants to take up the disease agent
points to a potential risk for both humans and livestock. The disease also challenges wildlife
conservation as it threatens the financial cornerstone of fisheries and wildlife programs because
sales of deer hunting licenses represent a large proportion of annual revenue for these programs.

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