Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MICHIGAN NEWS: Confirmed - EHD Kills Over 150 Deer

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed today that a virus called epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has caused more than 150 deer to die in northeastern Livingston County.

State officials said this appears to be the largest outbreak of EHD in the state.

Residents in Deerfield and Tyrone townships have found deer carcasses in rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes in the last two months. The virus causes massive internal hemorrhaging, and the animals are overcome with a fever that forces them to seek out and submerge themselves in water in an attempt to cool off. The deer die soon after coming down with fever.

The disease is spread by a tiny, biting fly, or midge.

State officials said deer develop symptoms of the illness about seven days after exposure. Signs are: Loss of appetite, loss of the fear of humans, growing progressively weaker, excessive salivation.

There is no evidence the disease can be transmitted to humans.

However, state officials recommended residents do not hunt or eat deer they believe are sick.

The first documented EHD outbreak in Michigan occurred in 1955, followed by die-offs in 1974, 2006 and 2008. Last year, roughly 200 deer died from EHD in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Russ Mason, chief of the natural resources wildlife division, said more frequent outbreaks of EHD in the state could be a result of climate changes that favor the northward spread of biting flies that spread the disease.

Source: Livingston Daily

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