The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking New York residents to report sightings of sick or dead deer after finding more than 700 of them dead from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD).
They say the disease outbreak happens every year, but this year’s outbreak is worse than ever before.
EHD, for those who don’t already know, is a condition that does not come from deer itself, but from traveling parasites that latch onto the animals and kill them within 36 hours.
They are biting midges who also go by the name “no-see-ums” and are so tiny they’re seemingly invisible. They are the ones who transmit the deadly disease to the deer.
The outbreaks most commonly happen in the late summer and early fall and cause the deer to have a fever, hemorrhage in muscles or organs, and have swelling of the head, neck, tongue, and lips.
When found alive by hunters, the deer often appear to be dehydrated. When they’re found dead, they are often found at a place where there’s a source of water.
Fortunately for us, the disease cannot be transmitted to humans.
Whitetail deer in the southern regions of the United States have built up a level of immunity to the parasite, however, the population in the northern regions have not and they continue to suffer every year from it.
According to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the first outbreak was reported back in 2007 but this year’s outbreak is much more widespread than any year before.
The number of infected dear being found in the state of New York is expected to rise until the first frost comes along, which will kill off the midges. They ask that people who find alive or dead deer that appear to have EHD to report them to their agency.