Thousands of White-Tailed Deer Killed by Horrible-Sounding Disease

Sep 19, 2012 at 9:21 am
"HD" has killed thousands of deer in Missouri, says the Department of Conservation - Image via
"HD" has killed thousands of deer in Missouri, says the Department of Conservation
Some 2,800 deer have been killed in Missouri this year by something called "hemorrhagic disease," says the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Here's the damage it does:
Most deer infected with HD tend to die within one to three days. Typical symptoms include fever, excessive salivation, swollen neck, swollen tongue or swollen eyelids, and reduced activity. Because sick deer are feverish, they are often found near water.
The outbreak isn't contained to Missouri; many states have felt the effects of the illness, which is borne by the small biting midge fly.

But will it affect people?

No, assures the MDC:
Humans do not get hemorrhagic disease, so handling and consumption of meat from deer that have recovered from the disease pose no health hazard. However.... any animal in a poor, diseased condition, regardless of the cause, may be unfit for consumption.
But deer hunters needn't be worried. Last year, sportsmen took down almost 291,600 deer. This disease has barely killed one percent of that. There will be plenty of venison for the holidays.

Since 1980, Missouri sees a severe outbreak about every ten years (though the last one was only five years ago, in 2007).

A drought apparently will boost proliferation, because deer and midge flies congregate more around certain water sources.

By the way, something funny happened when we first noticed the story in Google Reader:

Yeah, MDC is a great agency, but really the "key message" we got from this story was that thousands of deer are hemorrhaging on their insides.

That aside, Missouri IS a great place to hunt and fish. I'm going to try to bag my first deer this year. I hope it's a healthy one.