Deer deaths in Alamosa linked to ‘bluetongue virus’

Local News

ALAMOSA, Colo. (KDVR) — Wildlife officials in a southern Colorado county have confirmed the discovery of two deer corpses that were riddled with a disease that poses a major threat to the surrounding animal population.

The two white tailed deer in question were confirmed to have died after contracting the ‘bluetongue virus’ and the ‘epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus,’ both of which pose fatal threats to bison, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and white-tail deer.

Both diseases are transmitted by biting flies or midges that carry the disease. These insects are typically most active from August to December, before the first major frost arrives, after which the number of new cases of the hemorrhagic virus drops off heavily.

Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife – A deer with hemorrhagic disease is pictured in 2018. It is seen with foam coming from its mouth.

After contracting, a deer will likely succumb to the fallout of the disease within two days. There are several indicators that an animal is in the early stages of an hemorrhagic infection, including disorientation and an inability to recognize the presence of nearby humans or animals.

Once the diseases advance, recognizable symptoms include nose bleeds, foaming from the mouth and a swollen tongue that can be describes as having a blueish tinge.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife want hunters to know that these viruses are not transmissible to humans, however, it is not advised to ingest any animals that seem “obviously sick.” You should always report the discovery of dead animals to C.P.W.

Livestock handlers’ domestic herds are rarely affected by epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, although sheep populations have been susceptible to bluetongue in the past.

If you spot a sick deer while traversing Alamosa’s wilderness, please report the sighting to C.P.W. in the San Luis Valley by calling 719-581-6900.

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