A midge-borne disease that is highly lethal to deer has reportedly been found on the grounds of the SCI-Graterford prison complex in Skippack Township.
The Allentown Morning Call's "Lehigh Valley Wild" blog reported Monday that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) was identified in a deer carcass found by the prison's mounted patrol on September 11.
EHD, which is transmitted by the bites of infected midges, can kill infected deer in about a week. A fact page compiled by the Michigan State Dept. of Natural Resources says that infected deer can lose their appetite and fear of man before eventually weakening and falling unconscious. Deer typically die less than 36 hours after the onset of symptoms.
The virus that causes the disease in deer can infect domestic animals but does not typically sicken them. It is not believed to be infectious to humans.
There is no treatment or cure for the disease, which is expected to be contained when the season's first frost kills the midges that are transmitting the virus.
Residents are asked to report sightings of sickly-looking deer, particularly those found near water, to the Southeast Region Office of the Game Commission at 610-926-3136.