If you're like me you've noticed an abundance of roadkill on New Jersey roads this fall. It turns out there's a gross, unsettling reason for that.

At first, I thought it was a result of it being deers' rutting season. This is when (and there's no better way to say this) they're basically too horny to know better, so they run into the road without a care in the world.

Then I considered the pandemic. With fewer cars being on the road last year, the young deer got used to crossing the roads carefree.


As it turns out, while those reasons aren't off the table, the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed that an illness called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (or EHD, also known as bluetongue disease) is taking hold of the deer in the Garden State.

How can you identify it?

Per the NJDEP website:

 Symptoms in deer may include difficulty standing, drooling, and emitting foam from the mouth or nose. Since the disease causes a fever, sick or dead deer are often seen in or near water. Disease transmission ends when the first hard frost kills midges.

The clinical signs of disease caused by the EHD and Bluetongue viruses are identical and can only be differentiated by testing and virus isolation.

Don't panic, this is not a threat to public health.

If you see a deer on your lawn or on the road with any of these symptoms, you are encouraged to report it to either of these contacts:

Dr. Nicole Lewis, with the Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensic: (908) 735-6398 / nicole.lewis@dep.nj.gov.

Or Jodi Powers with the Bureau of Wildlife Management, (609) 223-6073 / jodi.powers@dep.nj.gov.

Gettystock / think stock
Gettystock / think stock

The NJDOA's Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory can help diagnose suspected Bluetongue cases in deer with their testing and necropsy services. They can be reached at (609) 406-6999 or jerseyvetlab@ag.state.nj.us.

For more testing info, visit www.jerseyvetlab.nj.gov.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5's Kylie Moore. Any opinions expressed are Kylie's own. You can follow Kylie on Instagram.

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