Pennsylvania Game Commission officials announced that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been confirmed as the cause of death for the deer mortality event occurring in the northern Chester and southern Berks County area.
Since Aug 29, 2018, dozens of dead deer have been found in the affected area. Game wardens continue to investigate new reports and collect and submit tissue samples from deer that are not in advanced stages of decomposition.
“We appreciate the public’s concern and involvement and will continue to investigate deer deaths reported at new locations, so we can monitor the severity of this year’s outbreak. The outbreak should subside once colder weather sets in and the area receives a hard frost or two, which will kill the midges,” said Bruce Metz, Southeast Region director.
EHD is an often-fatal disease caused by a virus affecting white-tailed deer populations in the United States and is contracted through the bite of insects called “biting midges.” In more northern states, such as Pennsylvania, EHD occurs less often and affected deer are less likely to mount an effective immune response. The virus usually kills the deer within five to 10 days. It is not spread from deer to deer by contact. While EHD is not infectious to humans, deer displaying severe symptoms of EHD are usually not suitable for consumption because of the rapid deterioration of the meat and secondary bacterial infection.
As a routine precaution, all hunters are encouraged to wear rubber or latex gloves when handling or field-dressing any animal, and wash their hands and tools thoroughly after field dressing.
The Game Commission encourages residents to call the Southeast Region Office in Reading at 610-926-3136 to report dead, sick or injured deer.
(Photo source: Pennsylvania Game Commission)