Michigan has its first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer. The Department of Natural Resources says a deer tested positive for the fatal and contagious disease that attacks the brain.
There has never been a case of chronic wasting disease found in a wild deer in Ohio and the state is working hard to keep it that way.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife has been doing surveillance of the wild population with the Department of Agriculture for more than a decade and that surveillance continues.
Chronic wasting disease is caused by the transmission of infectious proteins in saliva and other bodily fluids of infected animals. It is not clear at this point how the deer in Michigan contracted the disease. The doe was found wandering around a residential neighborhood near Lansing.
Although this is the only confirmed case in Michigan so far, wildlife experts believe there could be other cases in Ingham county. The head of Michigan's leading hunting and outdoor recreation group is both disappointed and concerned saying it was, "Nothing short of tragic and it is a day many of us hoped would never come, though it was not wholly unexpected."
Michigan will now require mandatory testing of deer killed in the surrounding area during hunting season and a deer and elk baiting ban will be enacted in several counties. The disease has been detected in deer, elk and moose in 23 states, some cases dating back decades.
Wildlife officials stress there is neither a food safety nor a public health issue with the disease. There's a lack of evidence that it's contagious to humans. Health experts recommend people and domestic animals do not eat an infected animal.
Jeremy Hollis works at Bass Pro, "At this point there is no cause for alarm here for sure and one deer does not constitute an epidemic by any stretch of the imagination. Michigan has a good emergency response plan in place and I an sure it will be taken care of quickly."
The Division of Wildlife will continue to do surveillance on Ohio's wild herd. If any cases are found here, the department has a response plan in place. That plan can include a culling of the herd to reduce the spread of the disease.
There have been cases of the disease in captive herds in both Ohio and Michigan.