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Friday, September 14, 2012

GAME COMMISSION ANNOUNCED EHD CONFIRMED IN WESTMORELAND COUNTY

GAME COMMISSION ANNOUNCED EHD CONFIRMED IN WESTMORELAND COUNTY

HARRISBURG – Dr. Walter Cottrell, Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife veterinarian, today announced that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been confirmed as the cause of death for a deer in Westmoreland County.  While the agency is waiting for results from samples collected from deer found dead in Allegheny, Greene and Westmoreland counties, Dr. Cottrell noted a sample from Cambria County was inconclusive.

On Sept. 10, the agency announced samples from deer that died in Beaver County were positive for EHD. (Please see News Release #105-12 for details.) The agency will continue to gather samples from dead deer being found in other municipalities where EHD has not yet been confirmed.  Due to decomposition, samples must be collected within 24 hours of the animal’s death for the samples to be viable. 


All samples were tested by the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) at the University of Georgia, which has confirmed deer mortalities due to four different strains of the EHD virus in 15 states this year. It can take up to two weeks to obtain results of the samples submitted.


“There are no management actions or practices to prevent or limit mortality caused by EHD,” Dr. Cottrell said. “Fortunately, EHD should be curtailed with the first hard frost, which will kill the midges that are spreading the disease.  EHD is a seasonal disease and the affected local deer herd can rebound quickly.


“Recent information received from residents has been helpful in guiding the agency’s efforts to recover viable samples.”


EHD is one of the most common diseases among white-tailed deer in the United States, and is contracted by the bite of insects called “midges” or “no-see-ums.”  The virus of EHD usually kills the animal within five to 10 days, and is not spread directly from deer to deer.  While EHD is not infectious to humans, deer displaying severe symptoms of EHD may not be suitable for consumption.


Game Commission Southwest Region Director Pat Anderson is urging residents to report sightings of sickly-looking deer, particularly those found near water, by calling the Region Office at 724-238-9523.  The Southwest Region serves Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties. 


Residents in other counties are encouraged to contact their respective Game Commission Region Offices. For contact information, go to the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on “About Us” and “Regional Information.”


Information on EHD can be found on the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on the “EHD Info” icon in the center of the homepage. 

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