Washington – Wildlife officials have announced that a viral disease, called blue tongue, has killed hundreds of deer on both sides of the Washington-Idaho border.

The Bluetongue disease has been identified as the cause of death in at least 68 whitetails collected in the town of Colville, according to the manager of the town’s streets department, Terry LeCaire. The disease has also infected a mule deer and one bighorn sheep in Idaho.

The Bluetongue disease is a non-contagious, insect-borne, viral disease of ruminants, mainly sheep and less frequently cattle, goats, buffalo, deer, dromedaries, and antelope. Credit: Outdoor Life

This disease is a non-contagious but viral disease that affects mainly sheep and less frequently cattle, goats, buffalo, deer, dromedaries, and antelope. It has high morbidity and mortality.

The symptoms are high fever, excessive salivation, and swelling of the face and tongue. Animals die from this within a week after being infected and animals that do not die, recover very slowly.

According to experts, 80 to 90 percent of whitetail deer affected with the virus will die within a matter of just a few days.

Although the disease is usually found every year, it only affects a limited amount of animals and small outbreaks are seen in isolated areas.

According to Kristin Mansfield, a Washington’s state wildlife veterinarian, the disease will continue to spread until a hard frost kills the gnats responsible for the transmission of the disease to the deer.

Facts about deer

According to Action Bio Science, there are an estimated of 30 million deer in the United States. Under optimal conditions, this number will double every two years. On the other side, over 6 million deer are killed during the hunting season, while 12 million fawns are born after the season has passed.

Deer are a source of food since one of them provides an average of 22 kg of meat. However, they are also a source of accidents, since over one million deer collided with cars and motorcycles in the United States in 2008, resulting in the death of 150 people, injuries to 29,000 others, and an estimated $1.1 billion in vehicle damage.

One recent study of 13 northeastern states revealed deer caused $248 million damage annually to agricultural crops, nurseries, and landscaping. They also are responsible for the transmission of tick-borne infections to humans, including Lyme disease.

Source: Immortal News