Public Asked to Contact DEP, Report Deer With Possible Symptoms
August 21, 2021
BURLINGTON, NJ –The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in a deer recently sampled in Burlington County. The sample was also tested for Blue Tongue, another virus that can cause hemorrhagic disease in deer, and it was negative. Neither disease is a threat to public health.
EHD and Bluetongue are contracted from the bite of insects called midges (Culicoides sp.). They cannot be transmitted to people, and humans are not at risk by handling infected deer, being bitten by infected midges or eating infected deer meat.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife always advises against consuming meat from any game animal that appears ill.
EHD outbreaks typically begin in late summer. Symptoms in deer may include difficulty standing, drooling, and emitting foam from the mouth or nose. Since the disease causes a fever, sick or dead deer are often seen in or near water. Disease transmission ends when the first hard frost kills midges.
The clinical signs of disease caused by the EHD and Bluetongue viruses are identical and can only be differentiated by testing and virus isolation.
There have been multiple outbreaks of EHD in New Jersey deer since 1955. Bluetongue virus was isolated from one deer that died in Basking Ridge, Somerset County and another that died in Stirling, Morris County in 2014.
The public is strongly encouraged to report deer with any of the symptoms described above to the Division of Fish and Wildlife at one of the following contacts:
Bluetongue and EHD are reportable diseases to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health, but only Bluetongue is a significant concern in livestock.
Livestock issues should be directed to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health at (609) 671-6400.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory can assist in diagnosing suspected Bluetongue cases in livestock by offering testing and necropsy services. Call the lab at (609) 406-6999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the tests offered can be found at www.jerseyvetlab.nj.gov
For information about white-tailed deer in New Jersey, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/deer.htm