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Joe Manchin III, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release : September 19, 2007

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381
Paul Johansen, Wildlife Resources Section (304) 558-2771

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Diagnosed in West Virginia

Beginning in late August and continuing through September of this year, portions of West Virginia have experienced an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in its white-tailed deer herd, according to West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro. Dead deer have been reported in small areas from several locations, and the Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, virus serotype 2 (EHDV-2) has been isolated from deer in Hancock, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia and Wayne counties so far this fall.

“Wildlife biologists, managers and conservation officers within WVDNR have received and are investigating reports of local deer mortalities in nine additional counties,” Jezioro said. “Most of these mortalities have occurred in counties adjacent to the Ohio River and north-central counties. EHDV-2 has also been confirmed in deer herds in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.”

Veterinarians and other wildlife disease diagnosticians working at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, located at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, have confirmed the virus isolates of EHDV-2.

Although Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease usually does not have a major impact on deer populations, WVDNR is currently surveying the extent of the disease outbreak in the state. EHDV-2 may cause local reductions in the deer herd of usually 20 percent or less. The disease disappears with the first frost, because the spread of the virus is dependent on small, biting midges in the genus Culicoides, which are killed by cold temperatures. EHDV-2 does not occur in West Virginia every year, and the last outbreaks of this disease in West Virginia occurred in 1996 and 2002.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease does not persist in deer that survive infection, and the disease is not infectious for humans. Although hunters should never consume an obviously sick deer, the current disease outbreak should not concern people interested in hunting and consuming their deer this fall, according to WVDNR Director Jezioro, who also noted, “Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is not related to Chronic Wasting Disease which occurs in a small region of Hampshire County.”


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