The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has confirmed that several white-tailed deer near Goshen in Orange County and in two towns in Putnam County died after contracting Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease.
EHD is a viral disease of white-tailed deer that cannot be contracted by humans.
EHD virus is carried by biting midges. Once infected with EHD, deer usually die within 36 hours. The disease is not spread from deer to deer or from deer to humans.
DEC wildlife biologists collected half a dozen deer carcasses in Putnam County and submitted the carcasses to the Wildlife Health Unit for necropsy. Tissue samples were sent to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University where the preliminary diagnosis of EHD was confirmed. DEC also sent samples from four deer from Orange County where the preliminary diagnosis of EHD was confirmed.
A deer infected with EHD may appear lame or dehydrated. Frequently, infected deer will seek out water sources and many succumb near a water source. The dead deer do not serve as a source of infection for other animals.
EHD outbreaks do not have a significant long-term impact on deer populations.
Hunters should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts strangely. Sightings of sick or dying deer should be reported to the nearest DEC Regional Office or to an Environmental Conservation Police Officer. The Department of Agriculture and Markets also has alerted deer farmers and veterinarians throughout the state to be aware of the disease and to report suspicious cases.