Life
“Zombie deer” sightings have now been confirmed by officials in 13 counties
The sooner we learn about it the sooner we can help them.
Elijah Chan
09.20.22

Will this bring about the dreaded zombie apocalypse?

We’ve seen it in the movies. Animals acting strange and getting an infection that will turn humanity into a flesh-eating horde.

But how possible is this?

YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12

A report in Ohio sparked this fear when they saw what they called “zombie deer” in 13 counties. But it’s not a cue for you to lock yourself up in the bunker just yet.

The video starts with a police patrol walking along the side of the road.

The body cam footage shows a man explaining what he saw and a police officer seemingly in disbelief at the man’s outrageous claims.

YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12

You can then hear him say “zombie deer?” through the laughter. However, a strange deer stood right behind them.

At first glance, you know something’s wrong.

The deer is not moving.

It was blankly staring off into the distance as if it was in a trance. It was also unfazed by the proximity of humans and the roaring engines of the cars zooming along the freeway.

YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12

It was not the first time a deer like this was documented. In other footage, a deer was recorded just laying down on a neighborhood lawn.

Much like the first dear, it doesn’t display a usual deer’s caution and anxiety.

It’s a viral infection.

The sickness is called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease or EHD. The sickness affects white-tailed deer.

The virus is transmitted through midge bites that are common in shallow pools of water.

YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12

Symptoms of this strange disease include swollen neck or head, swollen tongues or eyelids, and other neurological effects such as less reaction to stimuli.

YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12

They also display seemingly disturbing behavior like impulsive and continuous drinking. Experts said that deer do this to alleviate fevers caused by the virus.

Sadly, it’s fatal.

Last July, more than 300 deer on a Wisconsin farm were culled to stop the disease from spreading.

The progression of the disease is also quick as an infected animal can die within 36 hours.

YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - LOCAL 12

For those deer that survive the disease, they develop an immunity. Animals with antibodies against the disease also include farm animals like sheep, pigs, and cattle.

So far, infected deer are sighted in the following counties: Athens, Butler, Champaign, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Madison, Perry, Preble, Ross, Union, and Warren.

So, should we be worried and start strategizing for the zombie apocalypse? Experts say that there’s no reason to.

It doesn’t affect humans and pets.

It also doesn’t spread from animal to animal but through insect bites.

It’s not new.

The midges, the vectors of the diseases, also die off as winter inches closer. EHD is also a seasonal disease that affects a small number of deer every year.

As such, climate change may affect the duration of the EHD season as midges are active during warmer months.

Low water supply will also force deer to congregate in large numbers around ponds where midges live.

Pexels - Pixabay
Source:
Pexels - Pixabay

Authorities said that sightings of sick or dead deer should be reported.

Learn more about this story in the video below.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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