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Deadly Deer Disease Reaching Epic Numbers - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Deadly Deer Disease Reaching Epic Numbers

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(EKB) A deadly disease is hitting the population of wildlife in Kentucky and Fish & Wildlife Officials are reportedly overwhelmed by the amount of deceased wildlife.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease or "EHD" is spreading in multiple counties. Reports of dead deer are being called in to fish and wildlife officials across the state.

The virus is insect borne and can fatally affect red deer and sheep. The disease is not contagious but can become widespread due to insect activity, specifically the midge fly.

Dry hot weather is usually blamed for EHD as deer are forced to move to bodies of water where carriers of the disease reside.

“Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is not transmittable to people or pets,” Dr. Iga Stasiak, state wildlife veterinarian for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “However, we always recommend that hunters avoid eating venison from deer that were obviously sick.”

The counties hardest hit have been Magoffin, Floyd and Knott counties. 

Deer can exhibit signs of illness within 24 to 72 hours after receiving a bite from an infected midge. Infected deer may appear sluggish and unresponsive to humans. EHD causes dehydration and fever in deer, which causes the animals to seek water. Infected deer are often found dead near bodies of water. Kentucky last had significant outbreaks of EHD in 2007 and 2012.

Contact Fish and Wildlife if you find a deceased deer at 1-800-858-1549.

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