Epizootic hemorrhagic disease outbreak in Pa.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Epizootic hemorrhagic disease has affected deer in the area in and around State Game Lands 214.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has received many reports from its food and cover crews, State game wardens and the public that multiple deer have been found dead. This mortality event is only occurring in a localized area in and around State Game Lands 214.

The disease, confirmed by testing, has been revealed to be epizootic hemorrhagic disease. Furthermore, the game commission would like to make certain the public is aware that epizootic hemorrhagic disease should not be confused with chronic wasting disease.

Chronic wasting disease is always fatal to deer, is spread from deer to deer and is much more serious in its potential scope. Chronic wasting disease has not been detected in areas of the Commonwealth outside of the established disease management areas.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by a biting midge that frequently will become an issue around bodies of water that have receded due to extended periods of drought. A recent mortality event in the same area was last observed back in 2012.

Deer become symptomatic of Epizootic hemorrhagic disease within two to seven days of exposure and normally succumb to the disease within 36 hours of becoming symptomatic. The disease causes fever and hemorrhage of many of the internal organs of an affected deer, which causes the deer to seek water. In an event such as this, many deer will be found near streams or bodies of water.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment or known prevention for epizootic hemorrhagic disease that has practical applications for wild deer populations. Hunters may notice that in affected areas, deer populations will be noticeably reduced. However, the game commission wants to inform the public that many deer have succumbed to the disease in a small area, but the disease does not have far reaching affects for the overall deer population.

The effects of epizootic hemorrhagic disease and will end immediately after a first hard frost.

Although the game commission is aware that this event may be alarming to the residents and hunters in the affected area, the population in the affected area has proved resilient in the past and will rebound quickly.

Additional resources about epizootic hemorrhagic disease and many other wildlife diseases may be found by visiting the game commission’s public website at pgc.pa.gov/Wildlife/WildlifeRelatedDiseases/Pages/EpizooticHemorrhagicDisease.aspx

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