JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) -- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is cautioning hunters to be aware of deer infected with Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).
This virus is transmitted through midges and causes hemorrhages to a deer's muscles and organs that often result in death within eight to 36 hours after symptoms appear. A deer that is infected may appear dehydrated and frequently seek out a source of water where they will likely succumb to the disease.
As of Oct. 7 there have been about 1,600 reports of EHD infections. The majority of these infections are in Ulster and Dutchess Counties but this number is expected to rise until the first hard frost of the season when the midges die off.
EHD is not transmittable to humans yet the officials suggest staying away from the infected deer.
"If they see symptoms... bloodshot eyes, swollen mouth, lots of hemorrhaging, that is a situation we want to avoid" said Big Game Biologist at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Jeremy Hurst.
EHD is a very common disease among deer in the southern states. Over time, southern deer have developed antibodies against EHD limiting the number of fatalities due to the disease.
In contrast, this year's outbreak of EHD in New York is only the fourth time in the state with the first one coming back in 2007. The fatality rate in 2021 is the worst of the four outbreaks so far due to EHD emerging earlier than normal. Compounding that issue is the first heavy frost is late this year.