Sick deer found in Adirondacks has DEC worried

A dying deer found last month in Thurman, a town in Warren County, has biologists at the state Department of Environmental Conservation doing some detective work to see if the animal's infection is a symptom of a larger problem.

The agency is asking the public to report any sick or dead animals they find, the Albany Times-Union reports:

The "uncommon" bacterial illness surfaced when hunters last month found a dying deer in Thurman, near Stony Creek, that had an abnormally swollen head, was drooling and discharging nasal mucus, said Steve Hurst, leader of DEC's Biological Survey Unit.

DEC wants anyone who sees a deer dead from unknown causes to contact DEC, Hurst said. "This was a very unusual presentation and we want to know if there are other cases," he said.

The deer apparently died of an infection caused by a bacterium called Pasteurella, which doesn't usually harm deer, the Democrat and Chronicle reports:

Pasteurella occurs naturally in deer, and the dying animal found in Warren County could simply have been stressed to the point that an opportunistic infection set in, Steve Hurst, leader of DEC’s Biological Survey Unit, said in a  conference call with reporters this afternoon.