Deadly Deer Disease Not Easy to Find or Cure

Special hunt sheds little light on prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease

The deadly neurological disease spreading among Michigan’s deer herds may not be easily contained. Michigan Department of Natural Resources managers say preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease is crucial but also very problematic. The state held a special hunt last month in Ionia and Montcalm counties, between Grand Rapids and Lansing, to determine the prevalence of CWD. Department of Natural Resources Deer Specialist, Chad Stewart says of the 300 deer harvested for the special hunt, two tested positive for CWD. Stewart says there is still little known about the disease and how it is spread.

“It’s a very challenging disease to manage on the landscape but other states have been effect with very intensive management. But some sort of overall cure, that fails to exist. But if one is developed, we want to make sure that it’s easily applied. And to do that we want to keep it at very small geographic landscape just right now”

Stewart says the CWD pathogen easily spreads from deer to deer through saliva and urine. It eventually leads the deer to starve itself. Stewart says Michigan’s deer herds are generally not migratory, so it may be possible to contain the disease to specific geographical areas. 



  • Amy Miller
    Amy has been working in public and commercial radio for the last 30 yrs. She is an award winning reporter and news anchor, born and raised in Detroit.