Illinois hunters asked to report suspected deer virus cases

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to be on the lookout for possible cases of a virus that can cause die-offs of white-tailed deer.

So far this year, there have been 53 suspected cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, which is transmitted by midges that hatch from muddy areas along lakes and rivers.

The worst year for the disease in Illinois was 2012 when more than 2,000 cases were reported across 76 counties.

This year’s cases are mostly clustered in east-central and northeast Illinois.

Wildlife officials are especially interested in reports of sick or recently dead animals from which staff might be able to collect samples to test.

They are asking hunters and landowners to report the number, sex, approximate age and specific locations of affected deer.