The Pennsylvania Game Commission has announced that the cause of death for the 30 to 40 deer found dead in Crawford County is hemorrhagic disease. Hemorrhagic disease, which affects wild cervids, is caused by viruses spread by biting midges. The specific viruses responsible for the disease are epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus and bluetongue virus.
According to the Game Commission, disease outbreaks typically occur in late fall when biting midges are abundant. Although both elk and deer can be affected by the infection, deer are far more susceptible, leading to large-scale mortality events in recent years.
It is important to note that hemorrhagic disease is not a threat to humans or pets. The Game Commission has emphasized that there is no need for concern regarding the health risk associated with the disease.
The expansion of midge distribution to higher, warmer, and drier latitudes in North America has resulted in previously unexposed deer and elk populations potentially being introduced to this novel pathogen. This highlights the importance of monitoring and reporting any sightings of multiple dead deer in the same area at the same time.
If you come across two or more dead deer in the same location, please report the sighting to the Game Commission. You can call them at 833-742-9453 or use their wildlife health survey tool online.
Overall, the Game Commission’s findings have shed light on the cause of death of the deer in Crawford County, identifying hemorrhagic disease as the culprit. Continued vigilance and reporting of such incidents will help in monitoring and understanding the spread of this disease in Pennsylvania’s deer population.
Sources: Pennsylvania Game Commission