Fewer deer dying of disease related to gnat bites

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois wildlife officials say the number of deer that have died from a viral disease spread by biting gnats has fallen dramatically this year.

In a news release, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources reports that through the end of September, 403 deer died as a result of Epizootic (ehp-ih-ZOO’-ah-tik) Hemorrhagic Disease or EHD. That compares to more than 2,000 probable EHD deaths for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the number of counties where EHD has been reported also dropped. The illness was found in 51 counties during the first nine months of 2013. That’s down from 76 counties during the same the period last year.

Officials say they believe last year’s exposure to EHD has made deer populations more resistant to the ailment.

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