Deer at risk for deadly virus

A wet spring followed by a mostly dry summer has created the perfect breeding ground for tiny insects that infect deer with a deadly virus

TOWACO - A wet spring followed by a mostly dry summer has created the perfect breeding ground for tiny insects that infect deer with a deadly virus called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).

EHD is spread by biting insects known as midges. The disease was first reported in Somerset County. The last serious outbreak in New Jersey was in 2007.

Tim Marks, of Jersey Giant Whitetails Farms, which raises deer tells News 12 New Jersey when deer are infected, "basically they bleed internally, blood vessels burst, no internal organ is safe from (the) virus."

Antibiotics can help, but once infected, only 15 percent of the animals live. Even though humans cannot be infected by deer or midges, wildlife officials are now keeping a close eye because the painful virus can also infect livestock.

Bow hunting season began Sept. 10 and wildlife officials are urging people not to consume meat from an infected animal. If anyone does come in contact with a deer that appears sick or is foaming at the mouth, they are asked to call wildlife officials immediately.

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