More Pacific NW deer dying of viruses due to drought, heat

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — There’s been an uptick in the number of Pacific Northwest white-tailed deer dying of viruses that typically infects more animals during hot summers and periods of drought. The deer get the viruses after getting bitten by gnats that flourish when the mud underneath dried-up watering holes is exposed. That’s where the gnats live. And in dry times, more deer gather around those holes and are more likely to get bitten by gnats. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease and “blue tongue” disease aren’t contagious to people. The spread of the diseases usually stops after the first hard freeze, which kills the gnats.