Epizootic hemorrhagic disease has been found in deer in Rutland County, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

A common viral disease of deer in North America, this is the first confirmed occurrence in Vermont.

Cases have been localized in Castleton and West Haven, although they are likely related to more widespread outbreaks occurring in New York. The majority of Rutland County and the rest of Vermont appear not to have been affected.

The virus is transmitted by biting midges, sometimes called no-see-ums. The disease is not spread from deer to deer and humans cannot be infected by deer or bites from midges. The department notes that deer harvested in these areas are safe to eat.

Deer that contract epizootic hemorrhagic disease usually die within 48 hours of showing clinical signs. Signs include fever, hemorrhage in the mouth or organs and swelling of the head, neck, tongue, and lips. An infected deer may appear dehydrated and weak.

Sightings of sick or dead deer should be reported to the department by contacting a local state police dispatcher who will notify the nearest state game warden.

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