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September 20, 2018

Game Commission investigating dozens of dead deer in southeastern Pennsylvania

Wildlife Deer
Stock_Carroll - Deer Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Deer near the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is conducting tests to determine the cause of dozens of reported deaths of white-tail deer in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Most of the reports have come in from northern Chester and southern Berks counties, leaving game wardens tasked with collecting samples to submit for lab testing, according to the York Dispatch.

"We are aware of a significant deer mortality event in northern Chester and southern Berks counties and have submitted numerous samples to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) laboratory in Georgia to determine the cause,” Southeast Region Director Bruce Metz said in a news release.

Similar mortality events in recent years have been linked to epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a viral infection contracted from biting midges. Deer usually succumb to the disease within 5-10 days. Humans are not susceptible to EHD, but it usually renders the deer unsuitable for consumption.

The Game Commission has not yet determined whether the current pattern of deaths is a result of EHD.

Hunters are encouraged to wear rubber or latex gloves while handling or field-dressing animals. Hands and tools should also be washed thoroughly.

Residents who spot sick, injured or dead deer are asked to contact the Southeast Region office in Reading at 610-926-3136.