According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, more than 430 wild deer have died of an infectious disease this year.
IDNR has received hundreds of reports from 49 white-tailed deer counties that may have died of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, a potentially deadly virus transmitted by biting flies. The cases were identified mainly in the central and southern parts of the state.
So far, the county of Peoria had claimed the highest number of deaths with 77 cases, and there were 71 deaths in neighboring Fulton County. According to an IDNR press release, the virus has been confirmed in dead roe deer tissue samples in Cass, Edwards, Macon, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island and Sangamon districts.
Although the virus is often fatal to deer, it is not dangerous to humans and pets. However, the disease can be transmitted to livestock, including livestock, according to IDNR.
In Illinois, there are cases of animal disease every year, but in hot and dry weather, when the water goes down, the numbers are highest, creating muddy breeding grounds for mosquitoes. In 2012, the hottest year in Illinois, the state experienced the worst epizootic outbreak, resulting in 2,968 deaths in 87 counties.
Infected animals typically develop high fever and die within 36 hours. They are often found near water sources.
The IDNR asks residents to look for dead or dying deer and report suspected cases to their local field office.