Sam Montgomery, 360-688-0721
GOLDENDALE -- Wildlife managers confirmed a viral infection known as adenovirus hemorrhagic disease (AHD) is affecting deer around Goldendale this summer.
The first confirmed outbreak of AHD in Washington occurred around Goldendale in the summer of 2017 and is believed to have affected a minimum of 25 animals.
The disease is specific to members of the deer family and is not uncommon in other states, including Oregon where outbreaks occur every year. AHD was also found in British Columbia on the nearby Gulf Islands and on southern Vancouver Island during the fall of 2020, and spread to northwest Washington in 2021, where several hundred deer are believed to have succumbed to the disease. There have been no confirmed cases of AHD in deer in northwest Washington in 2022.
The disease does not pose a risk to livestock, pets, or people – either from contact or by consuming the meat. Yet, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff recommend using disposable gloves for handling any wildlife carcass and to avoid harvesting or consuming animals that are visibly ill.
"There is no known cure or treatment for the virus. AHD is transmitted by direct contact between deer, making it more likely for the virus to spread in areas with high deer concentrations," said Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW veterinarian.
Signs of deer with AHD include rapid or open-mouth breathing, foaming or drooling from the mouth, diarrhea, weakness, and emaciation. Fawns are most commonly affected, but all ages of deer are susceptible. Death can occur within three to five days from the time a deer is exposed to the virus, although not all infected deer die. Cases of AHD typically peak in midsummer and taper off in the fall.
"We ask people not to concentrate deer by providing feed or water for them," she said. "That is the best way we can help minimize the spread of this disease."
People near Goldendale who see live or dead deer with signs of AHD are asked to report their sightings online through the reporting link on WDFW’s Wildlife Diseases webpage. For more information on AHD, go to WDFW's AHD webpage.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.