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PA Game Commission determines cause of death for dozens of deer in Chester, Berks Counties

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has determined the cause of death for dozens of deer in the northern Chester and southern Berks County areas.

Officials said Tuesday that the epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) led to the death of the deer.

EHD is caused by a virus which is contracted through the bite of insects called “biting midges,” according to the PA Game Commission. The virus usually kills the deer within five to 10 days and it’s not spread from deer-to-deer by contact.

“We appreciate the public’s concern and involvement and will continue to investigate deer deaths reported at new locations, so we can monitor the severity of this year’s outbreak,” said Bruce Metz, southern regional director. “The outbreak should subside once colder weather sets in and the area receives a hard frost or two, which will kill the midges.”

Deer displaying severe symptoms of EHD are usually not suitable for consumption because of the rapid deterioration of the meat and secondary bacterial infection, the PA Game Commission added.

As a routine precaution, the PA Game Commission encourages all hunters to wear rubber or latex gloves when handling or field-dressing any animal, and wash their hands and tools thoroughly following.

Residents are encouraged to call the Southeast Region Office in Reading at 610-926-3136 to report dead, sick or injured deer.