From the Pennsylvania Game Commission
Southwest Region News Releases
|Patrick L. Snickles
||August 18, 2017
|Information & Education Supervisor
||For Immediate Release
Game Commission Investigating Deer Deaths In Southwestern Pennsylvania
BOLIVAR – More than 150 white-tailed deer died recently in Beaver, Washington and Allegheny counties, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission suspects Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is the cause.
The Game Commission is investigating the deaths. A deer that died in Greene Township, Beaver County was tested and confirmed EHDV serotype 2-positive. Results are pending on other samples collected from deer in Allegheny and Washington counties.
“While we are waiting for additional test results, we do suspect EHD, based on field signs we are seeing during our investigations.” said Dr. Justin Brown, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian.
The Game Commission will continue to gather information and samples from reported deer mortalities throughout the rest of the state. Due to decomposition, samples must be collected within 24 hours of the animal’s death in order to be viable for testing.
Deer contract EHD through the bite of small biting flies or midges. EHD can kill the animal within 5 to 10 days but it is not spread from deer to deer. While EHD is not infectious to humans, it is important to note that signs of EHD can be observed with other diseases of deer. However there is no relationship between EHD and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
Brown also pointed out that EHD should be curtailed with the first hard frost, which will kill the insects that are spreading the disease. He noted that EHD, unlike CWD, is a seasonal disease that occurs sporadically in Pennsylvania. While deer mortality can be significant locally during outbreaks there is no evidence that EHD can lead to long-term negative impacts on deer populations.
Game Commission Southwest Region Director Thomas Fazi is urging residents to report sightings of sick looking or dead deer, which are often found by water, by calling the Southwest Region office at 724-238-9523.
Director Fazi also expressed his gratitude to the general public for their vigilance in reporting these sightings to our agency so the Game Commission can continue to respond in a timely manner.
The Southwest Region serves Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Residents in other counties are urged to call their respective regional office.
EHD is a significant disease of white-tailed deer caused by two related viruses; Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV) and Bluetongue Virus (BTV). Both EHDV and BTV are further categorized into different serotypes that are designated by a number (e.g. EHDV 1, EHDV 2, etc.).
For more information on EHD, go to the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.pa.gov). Put your cursor on “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then put your cursor on “Wildlife-Related Diseases” in the drop down menu listing, then choose “Wildlife Disease Reference Library” from the next drop down menu and look for “Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease