A white-tailed deer from the Jackson Purchase area is the state's first confirmed case of hemorrhagic disease this year.

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, a deceased female deer recovered from Graves County tested positive for hemorrhagic disease, sometimes referred to as "blue tongue" or EHD.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is investigating other possible cases involving 22 deer in 11 counties and expects the number could grow in the coming weeks.

"Hemorrhagic disease cannot be transmitted to people or pets," Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's wildlife veterinarian Dr. Christine Casey said in a press release. "It is caused by two different viruses: epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHD) and bluetongue virus. These viruses are transmitted to deer by small biting flies, also called no-see-ums."

Far Western Kentucky had an outbreak in 2012, the statement said, and the last statewide outbreak hit was in 2007.

Hemorrhagic disease shouldn't be confused with chronic wasting disease, officials said. Unlike the latter, hemorrhagic disease isn't always fatal and deer can develop antibodies to defend against it. Deer that die from the disease will do so usually withing 24 to 36 hours after being infected.

You can go online to report to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife suspected cases of hemorrhagic disease in dead or dying deer. The digital form is available at fw.ky.gov under the "Important Info" tab. Reports also can be submitted by phone at the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife toll-free number, 800-858-1549, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (CT).

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