WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) - Thousands of dead deer are turning up across Michigan due to a disease carried by a biting fly. This week, a local mushroom hunter found three of the deer on his hike in Walker.
Mike Mieras hikes the woods near O'Brien Road a few times a week looking for mushrooms. He often sees wildlife, but this time he was startled by what he found.
All three dead deer were near a creek that runs through the woods. He says they didn't have any visible injuries. "I believe it's all related to that disease."
Mieras was referring to a fatal deer disease that's been in the news lately. Its called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease or EHD. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it's transmitted by a biting midge fly.
DNR officer Chad Fedewa says, "What happens is the deer will develop a lot of internal bleeding, develop a fever, and then seek out water to cool down." There have been about 2,700 dead deer found in 19 counties.
"This year, it's much more widespread. We think it has something to do with the hot, dry, summer." Fedewa says EHD only affects deer. "There has been no evidence it can be contracted by people, pets, or livestock."
As for Mike Mieras, the deer he found in Walker do not need to be tested. There have already been confirmed reports in Kent County. The DNR is asking people to contact their local office because they are tracking the cases.