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BIOLOGISTS MONITOR DEER DIE-OFF
“Fortunately for this area, no dead deer have been reported,” says Henry
County Wildlife Officer Greg Barker.
However, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has received reports of dead
deer in scattered areas of the state. The timing and details of the
reports are all indicative of hemorrhagic disease (HD).
HD occurs at varying levels of severity each year in Tennessee’s deer
herd. The catch-all term for this disease is hemorrhagic disease (HD), and
epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and bluetongue are the closely related
viruses that fall under the umbrella of HD.
So far this year, reports are predominantly coming from East Tennessee,
and based on the volume of reports it appears to be above average in
severity. According to officials in Athens, Ga., at the Southeastern
Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS), the outbreak being experienced
appears to be a part of a larger multi-state outbreak involving several
Reports to TWRA offices indicate mortality of deer in at least 20 counties
with more expected as the season progresses. The last major outbreak of HD
in Tennessee was in 2007 and involved virtually all of the state.
“So far the intensity of the outbreak seems to be localized,” said Roger
Applegate, Wildlife Health Program Leader for TWRA. “We don’t anticipate
this outbreak to rival that of 2007, but it is still early and we’re
actively monitoring the situation.”
HD is caused by a virus that is transmitted to deer from biting midges or
“no-seeums.” It is not transmitted from deer to deer by contact. The virus
causes fever, respiratory distress, and swelling of the neck or tongue.
Not all deer exposed to the virus will die, but those that do usually do
so within 5 to 10 days of exposure in or near water as they seek to cool
their bodies from the fever. Incidence of HD usually peaks around
mid-September and is usually done by mid-October with the onset of cold
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