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DNR Confirms Fatal Deer Disease In Clark County, 17 Other Counties Suspected

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Environment, Health, Statewide News
Deer that are sick with EHD are often drawn to water and might be found dead near it. (Bob Kuhns/National Parks Service)
Deer that are sick with EHD are often drawn to water and might be found dead near it. (Bob Kuhns/National Parks Service)

A dead deer in Clark County has tested positive for a fatal virus. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources hopes the public will keep an eye out for sick deer while it confirms results in 17 other counties.

The virus is called epizootic hemorrhagic disease or EHD. DNR State Wildlife Veterinarian Nancy Boedeker describes some of the symptoms.

“A deer that’s dehydrated, that’s weak. It may be breathing heavily, may have some swelling of the head or neck. It could be salivating,” she says.

Boedeker says deer with the disease often seek out water and may be found dead near it.

Indiana hasn’t seen a significant outbreak since 2012. Boedeker says overall Indiana’s deer population is pretty resilient, but the disease can cause significant losses locally.

“If there’s a dramatic decline in a local area, that’s one of the factors that would be taken into account when we’re setting the hunting guidelines for next year,” she says.

People cannot get the virus and it isn’t a serious disease in cattle. If you see dead or sick deer with symptoms of the disease, report it to the DNR.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.