The Pennsylvania Game Commission is investigating reports of dozens of dead deer in northern Chester and southern Berks counties.
Game wardens have been confirming the reports and taking viable samples of the dead deer for laboratory testing.
“We are aware of a significant deer mortality event... and have submitted numerous samples to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) laboratory in Georgia to determine the cause,” said Southeast Region Director, Bruce Metz.
Previous deer die-offs were caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). The commission suspects the recent deaths may be linked to another EHD outbreak.
The often-fatal disease affects white-tailed deer populations and is contracted through the bite of biting midges insects. EHD is less common in northern states like Pennsylvania, and can kill infected deer within two weeks.
EHD is not transmissible to humans, but infected deer are not recommended for consumption. The commission is cautioning hunters to wear gloves when handling animals in the field, and wash their hands and tools thoroughly afterwards.
To report dead, sick or injured deer, residents of Southeast PA are encouraged to call the Game Commission in Reading at 610-926-3136.