For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Maureen Wren
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 (518) 402-8000
DEC CONFIRMS FIRST CASE OF DEER DISEASE IN NEW YORK
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is Detected in Deer Samples From Albany
Recent tests for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in several
Albany County deer have come back positive, the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. This is
the first confirmed detection of EHD in New York State. EHD does not
present a threat to human health.
“DEC’s wildlife managers have been monitoring EHD as it has
worked its way north through neighboring states,” DEC Commissioner
Pete Grannis said. “While other states’ experiences indicate that it
is not anticipated to have a long-term effect on the health of our deer
herd, we will continue to monitor the spread of this disease and its
EHD is predominantly a disease affecting deer and is transmitted by
certain types of biting flies called midges. It mainly affects deer in
late summer and fall, but the flies die and the disease subsides when
frosts and colder temperatures occur. EHD is common in many southeastern
states and has been reported throughout the mid-Atlantic this summer. In
states where the disease has been detected, it has not had a significant
negative impact on long-term health of the deer herd, and infecting
instead only localized pockets of animals within a geographic area.
The remains of more than twenty deer were found in the greater
Voorheesville area of Albany County in recent days. Several deer
carcasses were delivered to DEC’s Wildlife Pathology Laboratory in
Delmar, Albany County, to undergo a necropsy and microscopic examination
to determine possible cause of death. In addition to EHD, deer were
sampled for Chronic Wasting Disease, rabies, poisoning, and other
potential mortality causes. Samples were sent to the National Veterinary
Services Laboratory and the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study
laboratory. Those tests confirmed the presence of EHD in the deer
There are several symptoms of EHD, all of which are not
necessarily present in an infected deer. They include: swollen head,
neck, tongue or eyelids; erosion of the dental pad or ulcers on the
tongue; hemorrhaging of the heart, lungs, rumen and intestines; peeling
of hooves; and high fever, leading infected deer to sometimes be found
near water sources. For more information about EHD, go to
DEC continues to request the assistance of hunters and other outdoor
enthusiasts in providing information to the Department about any sick,
dying or dead animals encountered in the field. Sick or dead deer should
be promptly reported to the nearest regional DEC office or to
Hunters are reminded that they should always take simple
precautions to protect themselves from exposure to disease. Hunters that
harvest a deer that is found to be diseased may be issued a replacement
tag by DEC. To minimize the risk of transmission of any infectious
diseases when handling or processing deer, the following precautions are
- Do not handle or eat any deer that appear sick, act strangely,
or are found dead and contact DEC immediately.
- Wear rubber gloves when field dressing game.
- Wash instruments and any parts of the body exposed to animal
tissues, blood, urine, etc. thoroughly with soap and water.
- Have your game processed promptly.
- Request that animals are processed individually, without mixing
or coming into contact with meat from other animals.
- Consumption of organ meat (including brain, spinal cord, and
other nervous tissue, spleen, pancreas, eyes, tonsils and lymph nodes)
may pose a greater risk of infection with a number of diseases. Hunters
should have deer boned out and have as much fat, connective tissue and
lymph nodes removed as possible.
- In general, people should not consume an animal known or
suspected to be ill.