JEFFERSON, Mo. (Edited News Release) – The Missouri Department of Conservation reports low levels of hemorrhagic disease in deer around the state.
Hemorrhagic disease is a naturally occurring virus that infects deer through the bite of a native midge fly. It is common in Missouri between July and October, when the insect that spreads it is most active.
Officials have recently confirmed hemorrhagic in deer through diagnostic testing in Boone, Camden, Cole, Jackson, Linn, and Osage counties. MDC has received at least 100 reports of additional suspected cases from locations throughout the state.
“Hemorrhagic disease has been recognized in Missouri for many decades,” explained MDC Wildlife Health Program Supervisor Jasmine Batten. “We get reports of suspected cases every year and ask the public to report suspected cases of HD to their local MDC office or to email information.”
Batten added that hemorrhagic disease can have severe impacts on localized deer numbers during some years with high infection rates, but transmission of the disease ends in the fall when heavy frost kills the midge flies. Deer populations are able to recover between outbreaks.
Hemorrhagic disease can be fatal to infected deer, but some deer survive and develop immunity.
“Clinical signs of hemorrhagic disease in deer vary but may include an unwillingness to move; difficulty breathing; and swelling of the head, neck, or tongue,” Batten explained. “Hemorrhagic disease can cause a high fever, prompting infected deer to seek out water sources. Deer that are sick may appear dazed, lethargic, and nonresponsive to the approach of people. Deer that die from hemorrhagic disease usually do so in a matter of days and are often found dead in or near water with no outward signs of illness.”
She added that HD is not directly contagious between infected deer and it is not known to infect people.
If you suspect cases of hemorrhagic disease in Missouri deer, email WildlifeHealth@mdc.mo.gov.
For more information on the disease, CLICK HERE.
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