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Virus killing deer

October 22, 2012

A neighboring farmer reported $1,000 worth of tire damage to his combine last week when he ran over a huge rack from a dead buck while harvesting corn. Other farmers are finding bones and carcasses in their combine heads. 

Deer are dropping like flies -- from flies -- the midge fly. This small, biting insect congregates near water spots where deer drink and infects them with epizootic hemorrhagic disease and the bluetongue virus. Both diseases are closely related and have similar clinical signs.

Some deer die of these diseases each fall, but the drought this year is making it much worse because there are fewer water spots. Middle River in Iowa, which flows behind our crop farm, is barely trickling.

Most deer infected die within a few days. Symptoms include fever, salivation, swollen neck/tongue/eyelids, and reduced activity. Because sick deer are feverish, they are often found near water.

If you find a dead deer, report it to your local conservation office.

For more information, here is a good report: http://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/disease-biting-midge-flies-causing-deer-deaths-around-state

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