A deadly deer disease has made its first appearance of 2022 in Dutchess County in New York State. The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking residents to report dead or sick deer. On Wednesday, August 17, the department confirmed that a white-tailed deer in the town of Dover Plains, Dutchess County died from the disease.

Photo by Mamun Srizon on Unsplash
Photo by Mamun Srizon on Unsplash

What Is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease?

According to the DEC,

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is a viral disease of white-tailed deer that is transmitted by biting midges (Culicoides spp.), also called no-see-ums or punkies. The disease is not spread directly from deer to deer and humans cannot be infected by contact with deer or bites from midges. EHD outbreaks are most common in the late summer and early fall when the midges are abundant. The dead deer do not serve as a source of infection for other animals because the virus is not long lived in dead animals.


How Many Outbreaks Of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Has There Been In New York?

The first case of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease was confirmed in New York in 2007. In 2011, there were small outbreaks in Albany, Rensselaer, and Niagara counties, and in Rockland County. A large EHD outbreak that killed approximately 1,500 deer occurred in the lower Hudson Valley in 2020. Last year, in 2021 more than 2,000 were reported dead in Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia, Oswego, and Jefferson counties.

Once a deer is infected, it will usually die from, the disease within 36 hours. Unfortunately, there is no prevention or treatment for the deadly disease.

While the DEC says that thorough cooking will kill the virus, it does not recommend you consume a visibly sick deer.

If you spot a sick or dead deer, you can report it online here or to the nearest DEC Regional Office or Environmental Conservation Police Officer.

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