November 25, 2013 at 3:47 am #1317MikeKeymaster
Virus killing deer, but will pass soon, experts say
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
By Rosemary Parker
At least 40 deer in Allegan County have died this summer and fall of
a virus that kills deer, can sicken sheep and cattle, but is not
harmful to people.
So far there has been one confirmed death of a captive deer, and
state wildlife and agriculture officials say the localized infection
does not appear to pose a widespread threat to either the state’s
wild- deer herd or Michigan’s $30 million deer-farm industry.
The virus, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, causes a deadly infection
in deer — but unlike the dreaded Chronic Wasting Disease that has
stricken deer in other states, there is no danger of it crossing into
a related virus that can be contracted by humans, officials say.
Wildlife experts say this outbreak of EHD will end in a few weeks,
when the first hard frost kills the gnats that spread it.
“This whole thing is history when the first frost hits and three
days passes,” said John Lerg, a wildlife biologist at the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources.
Until then, the DNR is asking hunters and others who venture into the
woods to report the finding of deer carcasses so officials can gauge
the spread of the virus.
Lerg said his office began receiving reports three weeks ago that
people were finding dead deer, many floating down the Kalamazoo
One symptom, bleeding from the mouth, gave scientists a very good
idea of the cause of death. The diagnosis was confirmed Monday night
after further testing.
Michigan experienced outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in
1955 and again in the early 1970s, Lerg said. Other states are
experiencing outbreaks this summer.
“The only locality we have seen so far (in Michigan) is in western
Allegan County,” though the disease has been confirmed in southern
Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana, Lerg said.
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