MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A deadly virus affecting Minnesota’s deer population has been confirmed in seven animals for the first time in the state.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health says six of the seven deer that contracted Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) have died. The seventh animal appears to be healthy and is no longer showing signs of the disease.

The seven deer were part of a small herd of captive white tails in Goodhue County. The animals’ owner worked with a veterinarian to have tissues tested from the dead deer after their sudden deaths alarmed him.

The senior veterinarian for the Board of Animal Health says the virus is transmitted by biting gnats that are most active in the fall. They are killed by the first frost of the season.

The disease affects many different kinds of deer, and the symptoms include fever, anorexia, lethargy, stiffness and swelling. Most cases end in death.

There are no known health risks to humans.

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