BRAINERD — “Chronic Wasting Disease: The Future of Deer Hunting in Minnesota,” is the topic of the next Rosenmeier Center forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College. The event is free and open to the public.
Three experts will provide basic information on CWD, its potential to harm humans and what is currently being done to combat the disease. Speaking at the forum will be Marc Schwabenlander, chronic wasting disease research program and outreach manager for the Minnesota Center for Prion Research and Outreach at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine; Joni Scheftel, state public health veterinarian and supervisor of the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health; and Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health group leader with the Minnesota DNR.
Schwabenlander is a wildlife disease specialist with a background in wildlife management and more than 15 years of veterinary post-mortem investigation, public health administration and policy and a life-long history of hunting and participation in conservation groups. His presentation will cover the biological basics of prion diseases, transmission of CWD, human risk and where CWD occurs. He will also comment on the threat to Minnesota and what his center is doing about the problem.
Scheftel serves as state public health veterinarian and supervisor of the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health. She works on diseases at the intersection of human and animal health such as CWD. She was a mixed animal practitioner in Watertown. In her presentation, she’ll examine the evidence and the difficult question of human health risk. She’ll conclude with Department of Health recommendations for hunters.
Carstensen has worked for the DNR’s Division of Wildlife since 2004 and currently serves as the division’s wildlife health program supervisor. She and her staff of seven are responsible for disease management of the state’s wildlife populations and has coordinated surveillance efforts for a number diseases including CWD, bovine tuberculosis and avian influenza. Current research projects include understanding Minnesota’s moose decline, exposure of deer to neonicotinoid pesticides and how animal movements influence the spread of CWD. Her office is based in Forest Lake.
Carstensen’s talk will include a brief history of CWD surveillance, information on DNR use of a risk-based model to focus sampling efforts, current efforts to manage the CWD outbreak in southeastern Minnesota and ongoing efforts in other parts of the state.
The Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government seeks to educate and encourage participation of citizens in effective government and the political process.