The Department of Conservation officials reports of low levels of hemorrhagic disease in deer in Missouri.
The deers in counties of Boone, Camden, Cole, Jackson, Linn and Osage were confirmed to have inflicted the hemorrhagic disease through diagnostic tests. At least 100 additional suspected cases from the various location all over Missouri was reported.
The Hemorrhagic Disease
The disease is caused by a virus that is transmitted through the bite of native midge fly. The virus is most active in Missouri in July to October, when the native midge fly is most active. Elks, livestock such as cattle and sheep may also get infected with the disease.
According to MDC Wildlife Health Program Supervisor Jasmine Batten, “hemorrhagic disease has been recognized in Missouri for many decades.” She further explained that every year, they get reports of suspected cases and would usually urge the public to report cases of the hemorrhagic disease to their local office or email information.
Batten said that this year, they had low levels of infection, but she said that there are some years wherein infection rates are high. High infection rates can have severe impacts on the localized deer population. The transmission, however, is controlled in the fall as heavy frost kills the midge flies. In some cases, deers may also recover from the disease and eventually develop immunity for it, but inflicting the disease can also be fatal.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The Department of Conservation officials reports of low levels of hemorrhagic disease in deer in Missouri. The deers in counties of Boone, Camden, Cole, Jackson, Linn and Osage were confirmed to have inflicted the hemorrhagic disease through diagnostic tests.
How To Spot a Deer With Hemorrhagic Disease?
Batten explained that symptoms of deers with the hemorrhagic disease might vary. Still, most often, five to ten days after exposure, the deers would exhibit difficulty in moving and breathing, swelling of the head, neck or tongue, appetite loss and fear of humans.
The inflicted animal may develop ulcers in the tongue or interrupted hoof growth.
Deers inflicted with the disease is expected to have a high fever, prompting the deer to seek water sources. It also appears dizzy, lethargic and nonresponsive to the approach of people. Deers inflicted with the hemorrhagic disease most often dies after five to ten days upon getting the infection and are most often found deed in or near the water with no signs of illness.
Can the Disease Be Transmitted To Humans?
Missouri Department of Conservation assured that hemorrhagic disease is not known to infect people, thus is poses no risk to humans. Handling or eating the meat from the dear inflicted with the hemorrhagic disease also does not pose a risk, However, acquiring the infection may weaken the animal’s immune system thus the sick animal may develop secondary bacterial infection making its meat unsuitable for consumption.
Incidences of a Severe Outbreak
In 2007, the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study(SCWDS) received hemorrhagic disease incidences in 31 states and an estimated mortality rates of 100 per county. The estimated death totalled 65,000 dears in Illinois, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia that year.
The Missouri Conservation Department urged residents to report suspected cases of hemorrhagic disease in Missouri deer be sending them an email at WildlifeHealth@mdc.mo.gov.
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