Vt. testing deer samples to test for EEE virus

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont biologists will be testing more than 700 blood samples taken from deer and moose across the state this fall as part of an effort to track the virus that causes Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Biologists say that mapping where the virus is found will help broaden the state’s understanding of the spread of the virus — which killed two people in Vermont in 2012 and two horses this year.

EEE antibodies detected in deer and moose have been found in every Vermont country.

Biologists hope that by looking for antibodies in the deer and moose, they’ll be able to determine if infected animals are more commonly found near certain bodies of water or wetlands.

“We had so many more samples this year than last year, and it will help us to see if there is a trend,” said biologist Liz Beeson, who helped the state collect blood samples this season.

State officials have been working to detect and track the virus since it first appeared in the state in a flock of emus in Rutland County in 2011.

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