Creepy “Zombie Deer” Disease More and More Common in Ohio and the Midwest

Creepy “Zombie Deer” Disease More and More Common in Ohio and the Midwest

The deer population has been displaying some really creepy behavior that reminds people from Ohio and other parts of the Midwest where this has been happening, of zombies!
As it turns out, this is because of a disease some of the animals are infected with.
Earlier this week, police from southern Ohio was called to check out a strange sighting.
Public information officer from Ohio’s Colerain Township Police Department, James Love, reports that “This deer was standing there and was unresponsive to us, just like… like it wasn’t afraid.”
Love goes on to share that as soon as the police approached the animal, they noticed some discolorations on its coat.
Furthermore, even though they were really close to the deer at that point, it still did not move.
“It was a complete surprise to all of us. We have never seen anything like that,” he added.
So what is making the deer act this way?
As mentioned before, this bizarre behavior is caused by a disease known as epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD.
While it took the locals and the police by surprise to see the so-called zombie deer, EHD would occur in the deer population in the Southeast United States traditionally, where the animals have developed an immunity to it.
However, in Ohio and other areas of the Midwest, this disease is becoming more and more common and can be deadly.
As for how to recognize it, a deer infected with EHD will experience symptoms such as swelling and drooling but that’s not all.
Deer program administrator from the Division of Wildlife at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Michael Tonkovich, explains that “They’re experiencing a lot of things that are not visible to the naked eye.”
Tonkovich goes on to mention that infected deer also experience a high fever and ulcers inside the body as well as internal bleeding.
As a result, walking may become really painful for the animal so they might attempt to move by crawling on their knees instead.
They also experience behavioral changes, depression being one of them.
This is why they look lethargic and listless and may even start walking in circles.
Tonkovich warns against calling the infected animals “zombie deer,” explaining that “The unfortunate label originated with yet another serious, fatal deer disease – Chronic Wasting Disease. As a result, many people are now confused about what’s killing these deer in Ohio and in Indiana.
To be clear, it is a hemorrhagic disease, not CWD and certainly not some Z-disease.”

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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