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A virus is killing deer in parts of New York

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A virus is killing deer in parts of New York

GOSHEN — White-tailed deer are dying in Purgatory Swamp near Goshen. They’re dying in Putnam County too, near Cold Spring and Nelsonville.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is also testing remains of deer from four other locations in Orange, Ulster and Dutchess counties for a viral disease called epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD).

It’s transmitted by biting midges (also called no-see-ums or "punkies"), affects only white-tailed deer and cannot be transmitted between deer or to humans.

As of earlier this week, the DEC had tallied 321 total suspected EHD deer deaths. A total of 138 were east of the Hudson River and 183 were west of the Hudson, with 101 in or within 10 miles of Goshen, and 76 in or within 10 miles of the Cold Spring-Nelsonville-Town of Philipstown area.

The illness, which is endemic in the southern U.S., first showed up in New York in 2007, upstate in Albany, Rensselaer and Niagara counties, according to the DEC. A 2011 outbreak hit Rockland County. And now it’s hitting deer in the Mid Hudson region.

Gerald Boss of Goshen, who owns property adjoining Purgatory Swamp and the Otterkill Creek, said neighbors have found deer carcasses in the woods.

"They’ve actually seen it," he said. "You can smell it here by me."Boss said that in his conversations with DEC wildlife specialists, he’d been told that the agency has removed at least 15-20 deer carcasses from the Purgatory Road area. A neighbor with a farm also found a dead deer on that property, which borders the swamp, too, Boss said.The DEC said initial cases of the virus were diagnosed through necropsy, which found evidence of characteristic lesions […]

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