MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - The Department of Natural Resources says white-tailed deer have been found dead of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, in Muskegon County.
That makes Muskegon County the first county in Michigan to report the disease so far this fall.
EHD, which is transmitted by a type of gnat called a midge, typically causes deer to suffer from rapid pulse and breathing, fever, weakness, massive internal bleeding, and eventual death within eight to 36 hours of the first symptoms.
The DNR has received reports of about 25 to 50 dead deer in the Muskegon County area and expects more during harvest and hunting seasons. That's not an uncommon amount, the DNR says.
This year's EHD outbreak statewide should be small, experts say. Reports of infected deer have been few, and it is already late in the season.
Deer infected with EHD are safe to eat, the DNR says, as it does not appear that humans can contract the disease. Deer with EHD cannot infect other deer, so their carcasses can be left where they are found. They may also be buried or taken to landfills that accept household solid waste, according to the DNR.
Anyone who discovers dead deer -- particularly near water -- are asked to contact a local DNR office.
Last year, EHD was particularly devastating to the deer herds in west and southwest Michigan, where thousands died. That was the worst outbreak in the Michigan's history, though the disease has been around for some time.
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