No CWD in 2009, but TB persists

Lansing – More than 3,500 free-ranging and captive white-tailed
deer in Michigan have been checked for chronic wasting disease, and
so far only one has tested positive. In 2009, the first full year
of testing since the CWD-infected, 3-year-old doe was found on a
fenced deer farm in Kent County, state veterinarians tested 1,117
free-ranging whitetails and 2,500 captive deer, and CWD wasn’t

“None (of the tests) have been positive. Everything’s looking
good,” DNR veterinarian Steven Schmitt said.

He said 774 of the free-ranging whitetails that were tested came
from the nine townships surrounding the farm where the infected
deer was found – Tyrone, Solon, Nelson, Sparta, Algoma, Courtland,
Alpine, Plainfield, and Cannon. Another 156 were from Kent County,
but outside those nine townships, and 187 came from the rest of the
state. It was mandatory for hunters in Kent County to have their
deer tested.

The state DNR and Department of Agriculture announced on Aug.
25, 2008 that a 3-year-old doe culled from a deer farm in northwest
Kent County had tested positive for CWD. Since then, state
officials have tested more than 32,000 free-ranging whitetails,
1,200 elk, and 50 moose, as well as 13,000 captive cervids. Only
the Kent County captive doe has tested positive.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease. It’s caused by an abnormal
protein (prion) that attacks the brain of infected deer, elk, and
moose. Infected animals experience chronic weight loss, act
abnormally, and lose control of body functions as they “waste away”
before succumbing to the disease. Symptoms of CWD don’t usually
appear until the animal is 18 month old or older. It is most often
found in 3- to 5-year-old animals.

There is no evidence that CWD presents a risk to humans.

TB remains in northeast

Bovine tuberculosis remains present in Michigan’s white-tailed
deer herd, but it doesn’t appear to be spreading outside the
five-county TB Zone in the northeastern Lower Peninsula – Alcona,
Oscoda, Montmorency, Alpena, and Presque Isle counties.

Four free-ranging whitetails, all from Deer Management Unit 452
– the heart of the TB Zone – have tested positive for bovine TB.
The deer were killed by hunters during the 2009 deer season.
Fourteen other deer, all killed inside the TB Zone, are suspect for
TB and are being “cultured.” Schmitt said that process takes up to
8 weeks, so final results of all TB testing from 2009 won’t be
available until March.

“None of the suspects are from outside the five-county TB Zone.
That’s the important thing,”_Schmitt said. “None are from Iosco or
Shiawassee counties,” where TB has been found in the recent

Schmitt said more than 5,000 deer from the 2009 season have been
tested and a few hundred more are remaining to be tested.

Since 1994, he said, more than 183,000 deer have been tested for
TB, and 650 have tested positive.

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