Wildlife Officials Monitoring Deer Disease

Sep 22, 2017

Credit NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Wildlife biologist are closely watching the white-tailed deer population due to an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease.  Jared Brumbaugh has more.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has confirmed 64 cases of Hemorrhagic disease in the western part of the state.  Here in eastern North Carolina, there’s been only six unconfirmed cases this season.  Hemorrhagic disease is a virus transmitted by a small, biting midge fly.  The infected deer can become lethargic and dehydrated with lesions around the tongue and mouth.  District 2 Wildlife Biologist Chris Kent.

“The deer lose their appetite, often become looking very thin very sick looking and almost always found in or near a body of water because of the fever and the thirst.”

The last outbreak to occur in our region happened in 2014 and mainly affected northeastern North Carolina.   

“It is not always fatal for deer.  And if deer do survive the illness, then they can develop an immunity to that particular type of Hemorrhagic disease that they had.”

Hemorrhagic disease is found everywhere and can resurface at any time.  There’s no evidence that it can affect humans or domestic pets.  Most cases are reported in late summer/early fall and slow down after frost kills the midge fly.