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Viral Disease Kills Hundreds Of Deer In 8 Counties

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Wildlife officials say a viral disease has turned up in eight Michigan counties and killed hundreds of deer.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that deer infected with epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, have been found in Barry, Calhoun, Cass, Clinton, Eaton and Montcalm counties. Experts previously confirmed the disease had killed deer in Ionia and Branch counties.

EHD outbreaks have happened in isolated sections of Michigan repeatedly since 2006. The estimated mortality has varied from 50 to 1,000 deer per year in the affected areas. The number of cases is rising nationwide because of hot, dry weather.

Wildlife biologist Tom Cooley says there are reports of more than 900 dead deer across the eight counties. But he said the die-off probably will be confined to local areas and won’t affect the wider deer population.

According to the DNR, the often-fatal viral disease  causes extensive internal bleeding within deer and is transmitted by a midge, or type of biting fly. A constant characteristic of the disease is its sudden onset. Deer lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively and finally become unconscious. Due to a high fever, infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water.

There’s no evidence that humans can get EHD.

For more information on EHD, visit this link.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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