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Fatal deer disease spreads in Northern California outbreak

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Monday confirmed an outbreak of a disease affecting deer in several Northern California counties, including some in the Bay Area.

Cervid Adenovirus 1, also known as adenovirus hemorrhagic disease or CdAdV-1, is normally fatal for deer and spreads when they are in close contact with each other, according to CDFW officials.

The disease has been found in deer in Napa, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Tehama and Yolo counties. Residents in those areas are being asked to refrain from feeding wild animals and to report cases of the disease to the CDFW.

Senior Wildlife Veterinarian with CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory Dr. Brandon Munk said in a statement:

“Providing attractants for deer — food, salt licks or even water — is against the law for good reason.”

He said:

“Because these artificial attractants can congregate animals and promote the spread of disease, it’s particularly imperative to leave wildlife alone during an outbreak. There is no cure or vaccine for this disease, so our best management strategies right now are to track it carefully, and to take preventative measures to limit the spread.”

Stehn John, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fawns are especially vulnerable to the Cervid Adenovirus 1, or CdAdV-1, disease that has broken out in several Northern California counties, including Napa and Santa Clara and Sonoma counties in the Bay Area. The disease, which was first detected in May 2020, is often fatal.

Back in May, the CDFW first began receiving reports of dead deer, both wild deer and those at fawn rehabilitation centers. Through an investigation, CDFW officials were then able to confirm CdAdV-1 as the cause of the deaths.

The disease is not known to affect humans, pets or domestic livestock, according to CDFW officials.

Deer fawns are at greatest risk for the disease, suffering high mortality rates after becoming infected. Yearlings and adult deer have more chances of surviving the disease, but many times don’t, CDFW officials said.

Infected deer suffer from drooling or foaming at the mouth, diarrhea, vomiting and seizures.

Because the disease can be widespread among deer, CDFW officials are asking residents to report sightings of sick or dead deer online.

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