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Another deadly disease confirmed in wild deer in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed Wednesday the first two cases of haemorrhagic epizootic (DH) in white-tailed deer. The disease has been killing deer in neighboring states for years, and it has been confirmed that tame deer were killed on Minnesota farms in 2018 and earlier this month.

Although the disease usually strikes isolated areas, wildlife management officials say it could potentially "dramatically reduce the local deer population in the short term." of the state.

"All the neighboring states have been facing the JEP for years," said Lou Cornicelli, head of wildlife research at DNR, announcing the discovery. "So, it was always a question of when would this be in Minnesota."

EHD occurs shortly after the growing epidemic of chronic debilitating disease that spreads and kills deer in the United States, including Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakota.

The DNR suspects that several deer in the St. Stephen area have recently died from shoulder disease. The tests of two deer were positive for EHD; other deer were too decomposed to be tested. The outbreak is confined to Stearns County, central Minnesota. The disease smuts for 5 to 10 days and most infected deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms.

The outbreak is expected to end when midges will be destroyed by the first fall frost. But it is possible that insects and diseases become more common in warmer conditions because of climate change.

"EHD is both natural and seasonal," Cornicelli said. "Given our cold temperatures, we can expect to see a shorter period of infection as the gel destroys both the virus and the gnat that carries it."

On September 5th, the Minnesota Animal Health Council confirmed EHD in two captive deer in Houston County. These cases do not appear to be related to the Stearns County case. The disease first appeared in captive deer in Minnesota in October 2018 in six deer on a farm in Goodhue County.

Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio report cervid deaths from apparent haemorrhagic disease almost every year. The discovery of several dead deer near a water source is typical of an EHD extinction. The fever causes the animals to look for water, but they die from internal lesions and hemorrhages.

People who find a dead deer should report it to the nearest MNR wildlife office. As for chronic debilitating disease, the JEP is not considered a threat to humans or animals outside the deer family. Yet people are warned not to consume deer meat that appears to be sick or in poor health

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