‘Zombie deer’ spotted in parts of Ohio, Indiana

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OHIO — “Zombie deer” have been spotted in parts of Ohio and Indiana, officials say.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources told WCPO that there have been reports of “zombie deer” in parts of both states recently.

According to WCPO, “zombie deer” is called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). It’s a disease that affects deer — not humans or other livestock.

Colerain Township Police Department told WLWT that officers were called out to an area after a call about a deer on the side of the road that was possibly hit by a car. When officers got to the area, they located the deer and said that it appeared to be staring into the distance. The officers realized that the deer wasn’t bothered by the sirens or shouting and its skin appeared discolored. CTPD contacted ODNR and a warden told them that the west side of Cincinnati has been seeing more cases of EHD.

IDNR said in a news release that EHD was confirmed in deer in Franklin County, Indiana on August 19.

“The presence of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), which is not known to infect humans, has been confirmed in Franklin County white-tailed deer, after the Indiana DNR sent samples of dead deer found in the county to Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study labs,” said a news release.

“If you see a deer acting strange or if you find multiple dead deer in a single area, we would like to hear about it,” said Michelle Benavidez Westrich, wildlife health biologist for southern Indiana, in a news release.

According to WLWT, symptoms of EHD include:

  • Disorientation
  • No fear of people
  • Appears to be feverish
  • Swelling of the head, neck, tongue and eyelids
  • Possible respiratory distress
  • No appetite
  • Weakness or other odd neurological symptoms

EHD is common in the United States and it kills deer every year, according to WCPO. Some deer do recover though. It is also more common to see cases peak a the end of the summer into early fall but decline as it gets colder.

According to WLWT, EHD disappears less than 24 hours after the animal is dead. The virus cannot be spread via deer carcasses.

If you notice deer with EHD, report the incident to your local department of natural resources either by phone or on their website.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) confirmed in Franklin County deer. Details: https://t.co/5sO2JY6oOD via @INFishWildlife pic.twitter.com/KmiLXU5r5i

— Indiana DNR (@INdnrnews) August 19, 2022

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