The Next Frontier of CWD Models for Michigan

Principle Investigators: Dr. David Williams, Assistant Professor, MSU Dept. of Fisheries &
Wildlife and Miranda
Strasburg, Post-doctoral Research Associate, MSU Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife

 Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emerging infectious disease that is potentially devastating to white-tailed deer populations. Like many wildlife diseases, understanding how to best manage CWD is challenging because of the complex interactions that occur between the host, the disease, and the environment. Given the limited resources available to research CWD and the widespread consequences associated with the loss of white-tailed deer, alternative approaches to field-based research efforts are needed to inform management and surveillance decisions. Disease simulation models, particularly agent-based models (ABMs), provide a unique tool to help researchers and managers better understand CWD dynamics and predict outbreaks because they are designed to link population demography and individual behaviors to disease dynamics. These models can be rapidly modified to assess specific questions.

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