Chronic wasting disease not found in Michigan

LANSING -- More than 900 free-ranging Kent County whitetail deer were
tested for chronic wasting disease in 2009 and not one turned up with
the deadly neurological disease, state officials reported to the Natural
Resources Commission Thursday.

The prognosis: All clear, probably. But a third year of testing is still
in order.

"Does this mean we dodged the bullet and don't have CWD?" said Steve
Schmitt a state veterinarian for the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources and Environment. "I can't say that, but we do feel a lot
better than 2009."

It was in August 2008 that DNR officials were notified of a single Kent
County captive breeding farm deer that tested positive for CWD. The
event triggered broad concern among hunters, deer farmers and state
wildlife and agriculture officials, who immediately pulled the trigger
on Michigan's official CWD Response Plan.

The plan called for quarantining deer farms, prohibiting the use of bait
in the Lower Peninsula and implementing a three-year disease testing
program to see if it had spread.

"What happened in Kent County is we got to it early enough that it
hadn't spread," Schmitt told commissioners.

A total of 1,134 whitetails were tested statewide in 2009, the second
year of monitoring, Schmitt said. All tested negative for CWD.

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