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Author Topic: New Deer Disease hits BC's Gulf Islands  (Read 292 times)

IronNoggin

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New Deer Disease hits BC's Gulf Islands
« on: October 03, 2020, 11:39:09 AM »

A new disease is suspected to have killed over 60 deer on at least two B.C. Gulf Islands, according to the province.

The cause of death is suspected to be adenovirus hemorrhagic disease (AHD), a virus that was initially discovered in California, but has so far never been recorded in B.C.

A Friday news release says the dead deer were discovered on Galiano Island in September, sparking an investigation by wildlife professionals and provincial staff. The province's news release did not say where else the dead deer have been found.

Samples from the animals were sent to Canadian and United States laboratories to confirm the cause of the disease. There are ongoing AHD outbreaks in California and Oregon.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/new-deer-disease-suspected-to-have-killed-over-60-deer-on-b-c-s-gulf-islands-1.5748622
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IronNoggin

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Re: New Deer Disease hits BC's Gulf Islands
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2020, 11:53:02 AM »

From an informed fellow on HBC:

I recently spoke with the BC Wildlife Veterinarian, Helen Schwantje. Here is my summary of her comments:

There is virtually no risk to humans of infection from AHD. Accordingly, for hunters, if you see a healthy animal, you can harvest, dress and eat it as you would normally do.
   
The AHD outbreak is almost entirely on Galiano Island (of the 60 dead deer reported; only one on Mayne Island).
   
There is 99% certainty that the cause of deer mortality on Galiano & Mayne Islands is AHD. The positive diagnosis, made on clearly identifiable markers, has been made by local veterinarians. Samples from affected deer have been sent to California for detailed analysis with a view to identifying the exact source of the disease, given that there is no indication that the disease has travelled in a “path of infection” from Oregon up through Washington to BC. The closest known outbreak is the Waterton Lakes area. The local outbreak was concurrent with this summer’s winds and smoke from the south, so that is a possible, if improbable, source of the outbreak. Other possibilities are being considered (boaters, etc., although the borders were closed this summer.)
   
Mule/black-tailed deer are particularly susceptible to the disease. The disease is not known to be fatal in fallow deer. AHD exists in Point Reyes park in California, where it has killed local elk and mule/black-tailed deer, but not local fallow deer.
   
What to do if you find a dead deer with no obvious source of mortality:
       
he government is interested in reports of deaths of deer that are unexplained (not in road side ditches with broken legs, etc.), particularly if there is more than one or two, and if it is from a new unconfirmed location (not Galiano).
       
The government wants samples from animals that have been dead for less than 24-48 hours (this range is contingent on the environmental temperature as samples will be not be of much use if decomposed).
       
Dead deer, if fresh, can be placed somewhere cool until someone can deal with them. Helen Schwantje can deal with them, or another vet, or Helen can walk someone through how to do it.
       
If not sampled the deer should be buried and all equipment cleaned well afterwards.
       
Samples of most importance are: photographs of the chest and abdomen opened from the right side to show the lungs and gut, fresh/frozen and formalin fixed lung and spleen.

Government fact sheet on AHD, including contact numbers:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/plants-animals-and-ecosystems/wildlife-wildlife-habitat/wildlife-health/wildlife-health-documents/adenovirus_hemorrhagic_disease_in_deer.pdf
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