Virus blamed for die-off at deer breeding facility - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Virus blamed for die-off at deer breeding facility

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Sheep in an adjacent pen to the deer initially had the virus, but did not show symptoms. (Source: MGN Online) Sheep in an adjacent pen to the deer initially had the virus, but did not show symptoms. (Source: MGN Online)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) -

State and federal agriculture officials said they have determined the cause of a die-off situation at a North Alabama deer breeding facility.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Reference Lab in Iowa confirmed that ovine herpesvirus-2, also known as Malignant Catarrhal Fever, caused a die-off that began in May.

Officials said the die-off was contained to the one breeding facility, and preventative measures have begun to protect the whitetail herd that remains.

Domesticated sheep who did not show symptoms, and that were housed in an adjacent pen to the deer, initially had the virus, which spread to the herd.

MCF causes no harm to humans, pets or other domesticated livestock. Affected deer will not transmit the virus to other deer or livestock.

"This isolated incident reminds producers how important it is to have strict bio-security measures in place," said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier. "Diseases like MCF, that are asymptomatic in domestic animals, can be devastating to native wild animals."

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