Health officials from Michigan have decided to expand the chronic wasting disease zone in the Lower Peninsula territory where hunters will be required to check for CWD any deer they take down.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the CWD Area includes some 17 townships in Ionia, Eaton, Shiawassee, Clinton, and Ingham counties. The DNR will continue the investigation to establish the whole variety of causes that led to the spread of this disease.
Plus, the agency will keep monitoring the deer population for signs that might be related to CWD symptoms.
Chronic wasting disease is an infection that was found until now only in deer and it usually attacks the brain of the animal, leading to many symptoms such as listlessness, weight loss, lack of responsiveness, lowering of the head, and repetitive walking.
Also, it eventually causes the death of the infected specimen. According to Chad Stewart, deer specialist with the Department of Natural Resources, the agency needs the support of hunters and landowners to make sure that their efforts of dealing with the virus will pay off.
If this collaboration proves to be successful, the surveillance will detect every specimen that is infected with the CWD and the officials will be able to prevent it from spreading further.
Starting from May 2015, seven deer were affected by the CWD in Clinton and Ingham counties. Hunters are required to bring the head of any deer tested positive for the chronic wasting disease to the DNR check station in maximum three days from the moment it was killed.
Also, any deer killed on a road must also be tested for CWD. The DNR stressed that baiting or feeding deer in the Core Chronic Wasting Disease Area and the Core Management Area is prohibited.
CWD is a contagious neurological disease which spreads to moose, elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer. The disease was first discovered in 1985 on the Western side of the United States.
This malady consists of self-multiplying and infectious proteins, known as prions, which are found in the body fluids and saliva of the infected deer.
Starting from May 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) professional sharpshooters have caught and tested over 5,000 deer specimens to establish whether they have been infected with the CWD or not.
Also, the Department of Natural Resources will begin a campaign starting from this month to inform and educate people regarding the chronic wasting disease and the risks involving it.
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