|Image via NJDEP/Craig Lemon|
The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife is asking the public to be alert for deer that may be affected by Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) and to report any suspected cases.
Hunters will be in the field starting in early October, but hikers, bikers and walkers out in wooded areas or even suburban landscapes may encounter deer.
The Division's Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensics is asking those who are out in the fields and woods of New Jersey at this time of year to be alert for deer that may be affected by Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) and to report any suspected cases to the Division. Because the disease causes fever, sick or dead deer are often seen in or near water, after drinking or attempting to cool off. Affected deer may also show reduced activity, loss of appetite and develop ulcerations on their tongue.
As the name implies, the virus (BT and EHD) causes damage to the blood vessels causing hemorrhage within the internal organs. Survivors of the infection or chronically infected individuals may become emaciated in the winter and may exhibit growth interruption or cracks in the hooves.
Sighted affected deer should be reported to the Bureau of Wildlife Management:
Northern Region Deer Biologist - Jodi Powers, 609-259-6965
Southern Region Deer Biologist - Joe Leskie, 609-748-2065
Division Veterinarian - Dr. Nicole Lewis, 908-735-6398
It should be noted that HD is not a public health issue. Neither EHD nor BT viruses can be transmitted to people, and humans are not at risk by handling infected deer, being bitten by infected midges, or eating infected deer meat - although the Division of Fish and Wildlife strongly advises against consuming meat from any game animal that appears ill.
EHD virus rarely infects domestic animals, while BT is a known disease of domestic animals such as sheep, cattle, goats, and even domestic dogs. To date, no cases of livestock illness related to BT have been reported. People suspecting HD in domestic animals should have them tested for the virus.
More Information: Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensics