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BIOLOGISTS MONITOR DEER DIE-OFF
“Fortunately for this area, no dead deer have been reported,” says Henry
County Wildlife Officer Greg Barker.
However, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has received reports of
dead deer in scattered areas of the state. The timing and details of the
reports are all indicative of hemorrhagic disease (HD).
HD occurs at varying levels of severity each year in Tennessee’s deer
herd. The catch-all term for this disease is hemorrhagic disease (HD),
and epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and bluetongue are the closely
related viruses that fall under the umbrella of HD.
So far this year, reports are predominantly coming from East Tennessee,
and based on the volume of reports it appears to be above average in
severity. According to officials in Athens, Ga., at the Southeastern
Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS), the outbreak being
experienced appears to be a part of a larger multi-state outbreak
involving several nearby states.
Reports to TWRA offices indicate mortality of deer in at least 20
counties with more expected as the season progresses. The last major
outbreak of HD in Tennessee was in 2007 and involved virtually all of
“So far the intensity of the outbreak seems to be localized,” said Roger
Applegate, Wildlife Health Program Leader for TWRA. “We don’t anticipate
this outbreak to rival that of 2007, but it is still early and we’re
actively monitoring the situation.”
HD is caused by a virus that is transmitted to deer from biting midges
or “no-seeums.” It is not transmitted from deer to deer by contact. The
virus causes fever, respiratory distress, and swelling of the neck or
tongue. Not all deer exposed to the virus will die, but those that do
usually do so within 5 to 10 days of exposure in or near water as they
seek to cool their bodies from the fever. Incidence of HD usually peaks
around mid-September and is usually done by mid-October with the onset
of cold weather.