The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said a viral disease commonly found after an area experiences drought has been found in North Florida deer.
Epizotic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been confirmed in two white-tailed deer and is suspected in at least 10 other deer from North Florida biologists examined this year, according to a release from FWC.
The disease is insect-borne and is transmitted to deer by small biting flies called midges or "no-see-ums."
Deer infected with the disease could become ill or die. The virus should disappeaer when freezing temperatures halt insect activity, the release said.
Humans and pets cannot contract EHD. The FWC said that despite this fact, people should avoid consuming sick or unhealthy deer as a general rule.
Dr. Mark Cunningham, wildlife veterinarian for the FWC said, "This is a disease that you typically see in late summer or the fall, and it often occurs after periods of drought. The good news is we don't expect long-term impacts to our state's deer herd."
If a deer is infected with EHD it may have pronounced swelling of the head, neck and tongue. The deer will also often have large ulcers in the mouth. The release said infected deer can often be found near water and may be lethargic, lame and emaciated.
The FWC is monitoring the health of deer in the state of Florida. They are examining deer for EHD as well as other diseases.
If you see a sick or dead deer you are asked to report it to the FWC by calling 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282), which is the estate's chronic wasting disease hotline number.
In addition to Florida, at least 12 other states are reporting confirmed EHD cases.
First Coast News