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Nearly 1,000 Deer Dead From Virus That Causes Internal Bleeding In Pennsylvania, USA

Deer in Western Pennsylvania are dying by the hundreds, and officials say there’s nothing they can do to stop it.
 
When Sally Meyers looked out her O’Hara Township kitchen window Wednesday, she noticed an unusual number of deer in her backyard.
 
She didn’t think anything more about until, she said, “I let my dog out I saw something looked to me like a dog and checked it out and it was a deer.”
 
The deer was lying on its side next to the patio furniture, dead.
 
“It’s right next to our patio furniture a few feet from our kitchen window, which is really unusual,” Sally’s husband, Mike Powell, said.
 
Deer dying in unusual places has become the recent norm in Western Pennsylvania. Game Commission Conservation officer Dan Puhala took one look at the deer in O’Hara Township and knew what killed the otherwise healthy looking animal. Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease – EHD – which is a disease the deer get from being bitten by a midge fly.
 
Puhala says once bitten, the deer’s circulatory system is attacked and it begins to hemorrhage internally throughout its body. Puhala says the deer often die in just a few days in or near water.
 
“One of the symptoms of the disease is a real high fever,” he said. “So we think they are dehydrated or they are trying to cool themselves down.”
 
This latest outbreak of EHD was first noticed in Beaver County in August. It has since spread to Washington County and Puhala says northern Allegheny County — Wexford, Marshall Township, Pine Richland, West Deer, and most recently Indiana Township and O’Hara.
 
In North Park, which has one of the highest population of deer in the county, Naturalist Meg Scanlon says EHD is really taking a toll.
 
“We find or smell dead deer, on a daily basis. New dead deer,” she said. “At least five a week since late August.”
 
It is important to point out “there is no known threat to humans or kids or even pets,” says Puhala. The virus only impacts deer and elk.
 
Puhala says EHD has claimed about 1,000 deer in the region so far.
 
“Regrettably I have to tell people we’re probably going to find a lot more deer before it’s over,” he said.
 
The calls to the Game Commission about suspected cases of EHD are coming in daily.
 
Discovering multiple dead deer in a single location is not unusual. With pockets of EHD deaths throughout the area, Puhala says the upcoming hunting season could be impacted.
 
“There may be certain areas where people might notice a pretty substantial decrease in the deer numbers this year,” he said.
 
He adds anyone hunting and killing a deer suffering from EHD will realize it as soon as they field dress the animal. While he doesn’t think there is a concern about the meat, he doubts it will be any good.
 
The EHD issue and the growing numbers of deaths will continue until the midge flies are gone Puhala says, “the thing that kills the midge flies is a good hard frost.”
Courtesy of pittsburgh.cbslocal.com

2,000+ deer are dead due to disease in South Dakota, USA

ehd-alert
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, a viral disease that killed more than 3,700 deer in 2012, has impacted the population this year, with more than 2,000 deer found dead in 23 counties, The Mitchell Daily Republic reported. The heaviest losses have been in Brule, Aurora and Beadle Counties. In Beadle County, 209 deer were found dead and in Brule County, 206 deer were found dead.
 
Hughes and Sully Counties were not spared. A total of 140 deer were found dead in Hughes County, while 85 were found in Sully County, said Andy Lindbloom, senior big game biologist.
 
“We definitely got closer to 2012 than we would have liked,” Lindbloom said.
 
The state issued about 29,000 resident licenses this year. It also issued about 42,000 individual tags, a 33 percent increase from last year.
 
Lindbloom said that about 1,500 licenses were returned as of Monday afternoon. Hunters with licenses for the muzzleloader deer season have until the end of this week to send their tags in for a refund.
 
Lindbloom said the disease is spread by biting midges that breed in shallow, stagnant water. That can lead to outbreaks being very localized, he said. Because the disease is often so localized hunting opportunities can vary greatly from one piece of land to another.
 
EHD is most devastating to whitetail deer populations. While the disease can and does affect mule deer, it doesn’t seem to kill as many.
 
There is a more indiscriminate killer in the state, however. It’s called Chronic Wasting Disease and it’s much newer to South Dakota. Lindbloom said that CWD is primarily confined to far western South Dakota and the Black Hills.
 
Less is known about CWD than EHD. And while EHD can decimate deer populations, it tends to run in cycles and generally stops spreading after a hard freeze. Deer populations in the south have even been known to develop an immunity to EHD, Lindbloom said.
 
Outbreaks of CWD are much more difficult to diagnose and there is no treatment. The disease spreads from deer to deer without need of a vector such as a biting fly or midge, so it doesn’t peter out after a hard freeze.
 
“There’s still a lot to be learned about CWD,” Lindbloom said.
 
The Wind Cave National Park elk herd is being thinned out by sharpshooters this year in an effort partially aimed at controlling the disease. Lindbloom said the GFP’s strategy for CWD also is controlling its spread.
 
Both CWD and EHD, as well as their impact on the deer herd, will factor into the GFP deer management plan currently being assembled. What effect EHD had on deer harvest rates this year won’t be known until about March, Lindbloom said. Once all the deer seasons are over, hunters will be surveyed on their success.
 
The deer management plan should be ready to be opened for public comment by mid-spring, Lindbloom said.
 
The department also will be setting deer season dates and deciding on the number of licenses to issue in the spring and early summer. Licenses issued for the new year will be dependent on factors which include fawn-to-doe ratios, aerial surveys, survival rates and harvest success. The seasons for both 2017 and 2018 will be set next year.
Courtesy of capjournal.com

1,000 deer are dead due to bluetongue disease outbreak in Idaho, USA

Based on continuing reports of dead deer, Idaho Fish and Game officials estimate up to 1,000 whitetails have died in the state from an outbreak of bluetongue, a virus transmitted by gnats that is similar to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, also known as EHD.
 
It is difficult to get the exact number of diseased or dead animals, but the outbreak is not expected to significantly reduce whitetail populations, or affect hunting season that opens Oct. 10.
 
Bluetongue is transmitted the same way as EHD and is a similar disease. Neither poses a threat to humans. Gnats transport the virus from animal to animal. Outbreaks become more severe during hot, dry summers when animals congregate around water sources with muddy shorelines that are prime breeding ground for gnats.
 
The disease has hit whitetail herds in the Grangeville, Whitebird, Harpster, Juliaetta, Kendrick, Troy, Deary and nearby areas this summer.
 
The Clearwater area had a large-scale outbreak of EHD in 2003, and Fish and Game officials estimated up to 10,000 whitetails died. There were smaller local EHD outbreaks in the last five years.
 
Bluetongue is less common than EHD, but it’s found in livestock throughout the Great Basin, although rarely fatal to livestock, according to Mark Drew, Fish and Game’s state wildlife veterinarian. Drew noted that deer that have survived past EHD outbreaks build immunity to the disease and pass that immunity to their offspring, but exposure to EHD does not make them immune to bluetongue.
 
This year’s outbreak is not expected to be anywhere near 2003 in terms of deer die-offs, and neither bluetongue nor EHD has long-term, significant population impacts on white-tailed deer. Idaho’s whitetail populations are high, and hunters will find deer, but the outbreak could affect local herds.
 
Hunters are advised that they should not harvest obviously sick deer. The virus cannot infect humans, so even in areas where EHD or bluetongue is present, consumption of meat from animals that are not obviously sick poses no significant health risks to humans.
 
The outbreak typically winds down when the first hard frost kills the gnat population. Some areas in North Idaho have already had frost, and it typically hits most of northern and central Idaho by mid-October, depending on elevation.
 
Dr. Bill Barton, state veterinarian for Idaho Department of Agriculture, said they are monitoring the outbreak, but have not seen any significant outbreaks in sheep, which is the most likely livestock to be affected. He said less than 10 sheep have tested positive for exposure to bluetongue and shown symptoms, and the disease is not likely to affect cattle or horses.
 
The bluetongue outbreak is not limited to Idaho. Deer with bluetongue are also confirmed in Eastern Washington and Northeast Oregon this fall.
Courtesy of idahostatejournal.com