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DEC requests: report sick or dead deer

September 18, 2013

NEW YORK STATE — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking the public’s help to report cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) cases in white tailed deer. This viral disease is most common in the late summer and early fall when the midges that transmits EHD are abundant.

Symptoms of EHD include fever, small hemorrhages or bruises in the mouth and nose of the deer, and swelling of the head, neck, tongue and lips. An infected deer may appear lame or dehydrated. Frequently, infected deer will seek out water sources and many succumb near a water source. An infected deer may die within one to three days after being bitten by the midge, or the disease may progress more slowly over weeks or months. Often a large number of dead or sick deer are found in a limited area.

There is no treatment and no means of prevention for EHD. The dead deer do not serve as a source of infection for other animals because the virus is not long lived in dead animals. EHD does not infect humans, and EHD rarely causes illness in domestic animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, dogs and cats.

In recent years, EHD, which was historically common in the southeastern U.S., has been increasingly identified northern states. While southern deer appear to have some immunity to EHD, in the North large die-off’s have been reported. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have each had recurring outbreaks, most recently in 2012.

In New York, the first cases of EHD were confirmed in 2007 in Albany, Rensselaer and Niagara counties, affecting several dozen deer. A larger outbreak occurred in Rockland County in 2011 and may have killed about 100 deer. No cases of EHD were found in New York in 2012 and no cases have yet been reported in 2013.

Please promptly report any observations of sick deer or groups of dead deer to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office (www.dec.ny.gov/about/259.html) or the DEC Wildlife Health Unit (www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6957.html).

For more information about EHD in NY, see www.dec.ny.gov/animals/39767.html.