At least 20 white-tailed deer have died in the area of Stone Mountain State Park in a suspected outbreak of hemorrhagic disease, the result of a virus that does not pose a danger to humans, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
State park rangers and natural resource managers and officials with the N.C Wildlife Resources Commission are working to confirm the outbreak through testing. Dead white-tailed deer have been discovered on private property near the state park, and hemorrhagic disease was confirmed in the death of a deer in Surry County, according to wildlife officials.
Hemorrhagic disease results from an infectious virus transmitted by tiny biting flies or gnats known as midges, sand gnats, sand flies or no-see-ums. It is a fairly common disease of white-tailed deer in the southeastern United States, with outbreaks reported more frequently from August until October, when freezing weather dampens the midge population. The disease cannot be transmitted to humans, and its effect on livestock is usually minimal.
Staff members at Stone Mountain State Park, near Roaring Gap, NC (just south of the Blue Ridge Parkway), are removing deer carcasses from trails, water sources and areas near visitor facilities when they are discovered or reported. Visitors should not feed or interact with the park’s deer herd and should report any animals that show obvious signs of sickness to rangers or at the park’s office.
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