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

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

County under flood watch; back-to-back storms promise heavy rain

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Monday for… Continue reading

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Yes to turn signal — eventually

Adding a right-turn signal at 112th St. and 7th Ave. is turning out to be a bit more complicated.

Cleaning up after other people’s messes

Snohomish County program recycles derelict RVs abandoned on roadsides and in homeless encampments.

The Lake Washington view from the “Greatest Setting in College Football” is behind the sign that says it is so. The setting is lost in the blackness, so folks visiting from Salt Lake City to support their Utes last Saturday night had to take our word for it. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Huskies are a victim of their own success

They’re a favorite to feature on nighttime national broadcasts, meaning most games are in the dark.

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

Most Read