Outbreak sickens local deer herds

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists are seeing an outbreak of Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (AHD) in a local deer herd in The Dalles and ask that residents do not feed the animals and bury, or take to the landfill, any carcasses they find on their property.

District Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Thompson said The Dalles office received several reports of deer dying in the Cherry Heights area during the past month. The cause of their death was determined as AHD when specimens were sent to the state lab.

“If these deer died from AHD, then feeding them will potentially spread this disease to other deer rapidly. It’s very important people don’t provide water sources or feed for deer for this reason.

Their bodies are built for browse and grass, not grain,” says Thompson.

AHD is a virus transmitted by direct contact between deer, making it easier to spread in areas of high deer concentrations. This is particularly a concern where people feed and water deer since it unnaturally concentrates them in a small area. Deer with AHD can have clinical signs common to other diseases that include: rapid or open mouth breathing, foaming or drooling at the mouth, diarrhea (possibly bloody), weakness and emaciation.

Death can occur within three to five days from the time the deer was exposed to the virus.

ODFW is also asking the public to report sightings of deer with these symptoms to ODFW’s office in The Dalles at 541-296-4628.

Thompson said the current AHD cases are not the first in The Dalles and outbreaks have occurred in other parts of Oregon.

He said the virus does not pose a risk to people, domestic pets, livestock or other wildlife. Nor are there any known cases of humans getting sick from AHD or getting the disease from consuming the meat of an infected deer.

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