Kent Co. elk couple confirmed to have chronic wasting disease

Two elk from a Kent County cervid farm are confirmed to have the chronic wasting disease known as CWD.

CWD has become a big problem with the Michigan deer herd. CWD is the reason hunters are no longer allowed to bait deer in the Lower Peninsula. CWD can be passed from animal to animal in a variety of ways and by eating the same food.

These two elk are the first cases of CDW confirmed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the state.

Deer include elk, white-tailed deer, reindeer, fallows, sikas, and red deer. Deer farms raise deer for hunting, breeding and consumption.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that causes white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose to exhibit abnormal behavior, weight loss and eventually cause physical debilitation.

FOX 17 reported that one of the elk is a three and a half year old and the other is a two and a half year old. The state tested the elk while conducting disease screening at other Michigan cervid facilities where the animals had tested positive for CWD.

One of the big problems with CWD is that at first you don’t know the deer or elk have the disease. They show no symptoms at first and can appear healthy for months or even years. The absence of symptoms allows animals to pass it on to others before they are detected.

Nine Michigan cervid farms located in Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties have detected cases of CWD since 2008.

The state is still testing other animals at the facility and at other facilities across the state.

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