Wildlife officials blame virus for dead Oregon deer

MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon wildlife officials say blacktail deer are being found dead in several rural communities in southern Oregon’s Jackson County, marking the return of a naturally occurring virus that killed more than 1,000 deer in 2002.

The Medford Mail Tribune reports (http://is.gd/4DwotX ) that biologists on Tuesday learned of their first confirmed case of the adenovirus.

Several reports of similar deaths have come from Jacksonville, Eagle Point and elsewhere.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the deaths are occurring at a rate not seen since 2002, when more than 1,000 blacktails died.

“We’ve had deer die in the past 10 years that we thought were from adenovirus, but now we’re seeing a lot of dead deer,” said Mark Vargas, the department’s Rogue District wildlife biologist. “We know it’s here, and now we know we have another outbreak.”

Vargas says outbreaks tend to happen during hot, dry months. A deer can become infected by breathing air from an infected animal, so well-intentioned people leaving out water and grain for deer facilitate the spread of the disease by bringing animals together in an unnatural way. Most of the dead deer have been found living near people.

Humans and other animals are not considered susceptible to this strain of the disease.

First diagnosed in Northern California in the mid-1990s, adenovirus hemorrhagic disease is believed to have been responsible in the late 1980s for killing hundreds of deer whose deaths originally were attributed to a different disease known as bluetongue. A smaller outbreak occurred in Southern Oregon in 2009.

Infected deer can suffer from mouth sores that keep them from feeding, bloody diarrhea, massive internal bleeding, and fluid in the lungs.

Vargas said dead deer should be buried or taken to a landfill.

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Most Read