Officials link Indiana deer deaths to deadly viral disease

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A viral disease has been found in dead deer in Indiana.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) was confirmed to be in deer found in Franklin County, Indiana, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said Friday.

Officials said EHD affects white-tailed deer and is common in the United States. It is not known to infect humans.

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The disease is transmitted to deer from infected midge flies. Cases of EHD typically peak in the late summer and early fall, but quickly decline after the first frost, a release stated.

After becoming infected, deer often develop a fever and die within 36 hours. Many infected deer move toward bodies of water to relieve their fever and then die nearby, but some do recover.

Signs of EHD include:

  • Deer walking in circles

  • General weakness

  • Loss of fear of humans,

  • Swollen or blue-tinged tongue

  • Swollen eyelids

  • Swollen neck or head

  • Respiratory distress

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“If you see a deer acting strange or if you find multiple dead deer in a single area, we would like to hear about it,” Michelle Benavidez Westrich, wildlife health biologist for southern Indiana, said.

Anyone can report suspected cases of EHD at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.