DEEP reports small die-off in local white-tailed deer herd

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HARTFORD — State officials said they are investigating a die off in deer in the central region of the state.

Since early September, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division found more than 50 white-tailed deer exhibiting symptoms associated with Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHDV-6), mostly in the towns of Middletown and Portland, with a few in Chester, Haddam, and Lyme.

DEEP said EHDV-6 is transmitted to deer by tiny biting flies midges. “Although the virus has also been detected in other mammals, including mule deer, elk, and domestic cattle, white-tailed deer represent 95% of the affected animals. Once infected, the disease progresses rapidly with deer exhibiting symptoms that include swollen head, neck, tongue, or eyelids with a bloody discharge from the nasal cavity; ulcers on the tongue; and hemorrhaging of the heart and lungs followed by death within three to five days. The virus also creates high feverish conditions, causing infected deer to sometimes be found in or near water sources,” said officials in a release.

Officials said the disease does not infect humans, and people are not at risk by eating venison from or handling infected deer, or by being bitten by infected midges. “The disease rarely causes illness in domestic animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, dogs, and cats. However, hunters are advised to exercise caution if they observe a deer that is behaving abnormally or appears sick and avoid shooting, handling, or consuming that animal. When field dressing deer, hunters should wear latex or rubber gloves and disinfect any instruments that come in contact with the animal.”

The first hard frost is expected to kill the midges which carry the virus.

Anyone who observes deer appearing emaciated, behaving strangely, or lying dead along the edge of waterbodies to report the information, along with the closest address, to the DEEP’s 24-hour Emergency Dispatch Center at 860-424-3333, the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-418-5921, or send an email to Andrew.labonte@ct.gov.

Additional information about hemorrhagic disease can be found at:

http://vet.uga.edu/population_health_files/briefs/2017_JUL_SCWDS_Briefs_Newsletter.pdf

http://vet.uga.edu/population_health_files/2015_OCT_SCWDS_Briefs.pdf