Hemorrhagic disease causing deer deaths around Virginia

A white-tailed deer.
A white-tailed deer.(WWBT)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 9:43 AM EDT
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An infectious virus known as a hemorrhagic disease is once again causing white-tailed deer deaths around Virginia, but state wildlife officials say there’s no need to panic.

“It shows up every year,” said Nelson Lafon, the Forest Wildlife Program manager for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

A blanket term for several related viruses, the hemorrhagic disease afflicts wild deer throughout much of the U.S. from the late summer through fall, disappearing as first frosts kill off the tiny biting flies called midges that spread it. In Virginia, it occurs annually in pockets of the Tidewater and Southside regions and occasionally in Piedmont. Outbreaks are relatively uncommon west of the Blue Ridge but not unprecedented.

Infected deer tend to become feverish and experience difficulty breathing as well as swelling of the head, neck, tongue or eyelids. Some develop lesions that vary widely in terms of severity and number.

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)