Vermont Monitors Spread Of Disease That Often Kills Deer

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is monitoring the spread of a deadly viral disease in deer in a neighboring state and investigating possible cases in Vermont.

New York has documented cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in several counties in the Hudson Valley, including some that border Vermont, the department said Thursday. The disease is spread to deer by biting midges, sometimes called no-see-ums. It does not spread from deer to deer and humans cannot get infected from deer or bites of midges, the department said.

“Vermont Fish and Wildlife is on heightened alert in the Castleton area where several dead deer have recently been reported,” the department said in a release. “Unfortunately, biologists have not been able to examine any of these deer before the samples decomposed.”

Outbreaks can temporarily lower the size of a local deer population but do not have a significant impact regionally on the number of deer, officials said. The disease regularly occurs in southern states and outbreaks happen sporadically in the Northeast where deer have no immunity to this virus. There is no treatment or way to prevent the disease. Midges die in the first hard frost, ending the outbreak.

Vermonters who see sick or dead deer should report them to the Fish and Wildlife department through the local game warden.