Chronic debilitating disease found in two new counties, bringing the total to 9

Two more Michigan counties should be added to the chronic debilitating disease list, bringing the total to nine.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced the results Wednesday after a 4-year-old boy in Gratiot Township, Gratiot County, and a 2-year-old man in Carmel Township, in Eaton County, exhibited a positive deer, mule deer, elk and moose.

The samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation, which is expected for next week.

Chronic burnout has already been confirmed in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm Counties.

Chronic debilitating disease detected in the deer of the Upper Peninsula for the first time

On Saturday, the Department of Natural Resources tested more than 16,000 cervids in 2018, of which 20 confirmed positive for CWD. Eighteen other positive suspect animals were detected in the townships of Clinton, Kent and Montcalm counties.

"I continue to be impressed by the hunters' commitment to the health of Michigan deer and I want to emphasize once again how much the actions of all hunters count", said Chad Stewart, deer and elk specialist at the DNR. "Only through the help of hunters did we find the MDC in new areas.

"The DNR sets surveillance goals – presented in the form of a number of deer tested in a particular area – to help us detect the presence of the disease at a certain level," Stewart said. "It is essential to achieve these goals to better understand the distribution of the chronic wasting disease in Michigan, so we urge hunters in these areas to have their cervids checked."

MDC continues to be a concern in Michigan and requires early detection. Despite the progress made, the tests in Gratiot, Isabella, Jackson and Kent counties are still well below targets, according to the DNR.

To date, no case of MDC infection has been reported. However, as a precaution, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that infected animals should not be eaten as food by humans or pets.

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