Disease is killing mule deer in New Mexico

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CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE)- A disease that kills deer is spreading in New Mexico.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease: it’s a name that’s difficult for people to say, but not for mule deer to catch in Eddy County.

Better known as EHD, the disease can cause breathing problems, fever and swelling of the eyes, neck and tongue for mule deer and in many cases leads to death.

“It can kill them within 10 to 15 days you know and it’s a pretty traumatic death, they start craving water, that’s why you find dead deer near water sources,” said Woods Houghton with the Eddy County Extension Office.

In an area where deer hunting is a popular sport, it has people concerned.

Officials with the Eddy County extension office say there’s no need to worry.

“People can eat the meat,” said Houghton.

People can’t catch the disease and that’s a big relief for Eddy County resident like Yolanda Jones.

“That’s a big relief that nobody could get sick from eating it,” said Jones.

Though unlikely,  the blood-borne disease can spread to other animals.

“It’s hard to transmit from species to species, it is something that you want to be aware about,” said Houghton.

They ask that anyone that notices any odd behavior in deer or any other animals to report it to Game and Fish.

Infected deer can show a lack of fear around people.

Just like with other blood borne diseases, it’s the mosquitoes who spread it.

There will be a meeting on Tuesday at the extension office in Carlsbad for anyone with questions or concerns about the disease.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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