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Dozens of deer found dead in northern Pennsylvania after hemorrhagic disease outbreak

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CBS News Pittsburgh Live

NORTH SHENANGO TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- A hemorrhagic disease outbreak killed dozens of deer in Crawford County earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said.

About 30 to 40 deer were found dead near State Game Lands 214 in North Shenango and Sadsbury townships the week of Sept. 8. The Game Commission determined the deer died from hemorrhagic disease.

Hemorrhagic disease affects wild cervids like deer and is caused by viruses spread by biting midges. Disease outbreaks usually occur in late fall when the Game Commission said biting midges are "in abundance." 

White-tailed deer are far more susceptible than elk and deer and large-scale mortality events have been recorded within the state over the past few years. So far though, the Game Commission said it hasn't identified any significantly negative disease impacts and local populations quickly recover after an outbreak. 

The Game Commission said the midge distribution has expanded to higher, warmer and drier latitudes in North America, possibly exposing wild deer and elk populations to a novel pathogen. 

Hemorrhagic disease doesn't pose a danger to people or their pets, but the Game Commission still urges people to remain at a safe distance while looking at wildlife. Don't handle wildlife unless you're hunting, trapping or otherwise authorized to do so.

The public is also encouraged to report cases of two or more dead deer found in the same area at the same time by calling the Game Commission at 1-833-742-9453 or clicking here.

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