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Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak In White-Tailed Deer Continues In Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters that Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) has been confirmed in Maryland and is the likely cause of death of white-tailed deer reported from numerous counties across the state. EHD is a naturally occurring disease that affects white-tailed deer and, rarely, domestic livestock. The disease poses no threat to humans. EHD is common throughout the eastern United States and outbreaks occur annually in Maryland at differing degrees.
The disease is often, but not always, fatal to deer. This year confirmed or suspected cases of EHD have been documented in counties on the Eastern Shore, central and southern Maryland, and as far west as Allegany County. The disease has also been reported in the neighboring states of Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. EHD should not be confused with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal disease of deer that has not been found in Maryland to date.
EHD typically occurs from mid-August through October and is caused by a virus that is transmitted to deer through the bite of tiny flying midges (“no-see-ums”). EHD is not transmitted by direct contact between deer and cannot be spread to humans. Humans are not at risk of being bitten by infected midges or from handling or eating the meat of affected deer. The infectious virus that causes EHD typically results in visible sores and secondary infections to the deer. DNR recommends not eating deer which have large, open sores, regardless of the cause.
Deer contracting EHD may exhibit symptoms of lethargy, often salivate excessively, and appear to lose their fear of humans. Hemorrhaging or lesions of the mouth and tongue are a typical symptom. Severe emmaciation may be seen in animals recovering from the disease. Dead or dying deer found near water in late summer or early fall are a common characteristic of an EHD outbreak.
Maryland is home to a healthy white-tailed deer population that is routinely subjected to EHD outbreaks and easily recovers from the localized effects of the disease. EHD occurs annually but its distribution and occurrence are highly variable. Occurrence may involve a few scattered cases or may appear as dramatic, highly visible, localized outbreaks. The onset of cold weather typically brings an end to EHD outbreaks since it kills the midges that transmit the virus.
Hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and other citizens who encounter a sick or freshly dead deer should not disturb or remove the animal but are encouraged to call their local DNR wildlife office to report the location.
Central Maryland: 410-836-4557 or 410-879-4500 x4557
Eastern Maryland: 410-827-8612
Southern Maryland: 301-743-5161
Western Maryland: 301-777-2136
To learn more about Maryland’s white-tailed deer, visit www.DNR.Maryland.gov/wildlife.
October 17, 2007
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov