It sounds like something out of a horror movie. "Symptoms include fever, hemorrhage in muscle or organs, and swelling of the head, neck, tongue, and lips," warns the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Unfortunately, the Hudson Valley just had its first confirmed case of 2022.

A wild mule deer watches ready to defend his mate in the woods of Wyoming

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in Dutchess County, NY

Even without knowing the symptoms, just the name of the disease is enough to give you the creeps. It's also a killer. Deer contract EHD from the bites of midge flies, and many die just 36 hours after their encounter. Luckily, there's good news for deer and humans. Here's what you need to know.

Deer Crossing Road,washington state

What is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease?

First, the name. The "epizootic" part of EHD simply describes a disease that affects a certain species (in this case, deer) simultaneously. EHD generally appears in deer in the waning summer and early fall months, like August and September. "Hemorrhagic" refers to the hemorrhages (internal bleeding from blood vessels) the deer experience. The good news is that EHD does not affect humans, and there's only one way deer are able to contract it.

Whitetail Deer

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Effect on Humans

The DEC assures the public that this disease cannot be transmitted to humans either by infected deer or the biting midges that carry it. Deer also cannot transmit EHD to other deer. To put it plainly: the only animal that can die from this disease seems to be deer, and the only way they can contract EHD is from the biting midges.

Here's how to tell if a deer you find may have died from EHD, and what next steps you should take.

Get our free mobile app

What to Do if You See a Sick Deer in New York

If you see a deer that you suspect is sick or dead, you can follow this link to file a report with the DEC. Deer who have died from EHD are often found near bodies of water, as the disease creates an intense thirst. While EHD is more common in the south, cases have been seen in New York State since 2007 (with plenty of cases last year), and the DEC is working to keep strong records of outbreaks.

On a cooler note, want to see some wildly unique deer? Check out some of the genetically abnormal deer on New York State below, including the herd of 300 white deer spotted in upstate New York.

Deer With Genetic Anomilies

Often mistaken for albino deer, it's actually a genetic anomaly occurring in several species.

300 of these Majestic White Deer Live in Upstate NY!