The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will hold a town hall meeting 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Township Hall room of the Meridian Township Municipal Building, 5151 Marsh Road in Okemos, to present information on chronic wasting disease (CWD) and the DNR’s surveillance and management efforts.
This past May, the DNR announced that a free-ranging deer in Meridian Township had tested positive for CWD. Since that time, two additional deer in that area also have tested positive for the disease.
At the meeting, speakers Dr. Steve Schmitt, DNR wildlife veterinarian, and Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist, will provide information on the disease, its impacts on deer and deer populations, and how the DNR has responded to the discovery of the disease thus far. There will be plenty of time for questions.
“We are excited to talk to area hunters and other concerned citizens about the disease, itself, and how they can help be part of the solution,” said Stewart. “We need to have hunters out in the area harvesting deer so we can assess the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease.”
Meridian Township staff members also will be in attendance to answer questions related to the township’s local deer hunt. Township staff and local police have been instrumental in assisting the DNR with this situation.
“Meridian Township will continue to work with the DNR and support its efforts in combating CWD in the township,” said Deborah Guthrie, Meridian Township communications director and executive producer for HOMTV. We hope to reach more residents and educate the public on this issue by televising the DNR’s town hall meeting on HOMTV.”
The DNR hopes many hunters and concerned citizens will attend the meeting. Staff members will be available to answer any questions related to hunting in the area – from mandatory deer check to how to process deer.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, or from environments contaminated with the fluids, or the carcass of a diseased animal.
To date, there is no evidence that chronic wasting disease presents any risk to non-cervids, including humans, either through contact with an infected animal or from handling venison. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals. Within seven to 10 days of submitting a deer head for testing, hunters will be able to find out the test results for their deer.
To learn more about CWD, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.