Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Hemorrhagic Disease Found in Several Dead White-Tailed Deer in CT

Face of a deer

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is investigating the deaths of several white-tailed deer in the state and said three of them have been found to have hemorrhagic disease.

The first positive case of 2022 was a deer found in Goshen and the second was on a property in Kent where five other deer were also found dead, according to DEEP.

The third positive case was in East Haddam, where three other deer were found dead.

Hemorrhagic disease usually kills the animal within one to three days of infection, according to DEEP.

The department has received reports of dead deer in several other towns, mainly in the northwest and southeast of the state, that they said fit the description of animals affected by the disease. 

Symptoms of Hemorrhagic Disease In Deer

  • Swollen head, neck, tongue or eyelids
  • Bloody discharge from the nasal cavity
  • Erosion of the upper dental pad or ulcers on the tongue
  • Hemorrhaging of the heart and lungs, causing respiratory distress
  • High fevers, leading infected deer to be found near water sources
  • Note: not all symptoms are found in every infected deer

How Hemorrhagic Disease is Transmitted

  • Hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by biting midges -- commonly referred to as sand gnats, sand flies, or no-see-ums.
  • Mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and elk, have been documented with the disease in other states. 

DEEP said hemorrhagic disease does not infect humans and people are not at risk by handling infected deer, eating venison from infected deer or being bitten by infected midges. They urge hunters to use normal precautions around any sick or strangely acting animals. 

They also said it rarely causes illness in domestic animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, dogs, and cats.

DEEP said there has not been a significant negative impact on the long-term health of deer herds in states where the disease has been detected because only localized pockets of animals tend to be infected within a geographic area. 

They said outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease tend to occur during years when drought conditions are prevalent, and they occur in late summer and early fall. The outbreaks cease with the onset of a hard frost.

The disease was first documented in the state in 2017 and this is the third year it has been found since.

How to Report Deer Suspected of Having Hemorrhagic Disease

Anyone who sees emaciated deer, dead deer near water or deer behaving strangely is asked to report the information to the DEEP Wildlife Division at or by calling 860-418-5921.

People are asked to report deer killed on the road to local or state police and not to that number or email address.

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