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updated: 10/5/2012 7:26 AM

Virus likely killed more than 2,000 Illinois deer

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Associated Press

More than 2,000 deer in 76 Illinois counties likely have died from a virus that often kills the animals but poses no risk to humans.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released an update Thursday on epizootic hemorrhagic disease or EHD. State officials say the highest number of deer came from Cook, Calhoun, Coles, Macon and Shelby counties. The gnat-borne virus causes high fever and severe internal bleeding. The first deaths in Illinois were reported in August.

State officials are asking hunters or landowners who find sick or dead deer to contact their nearest IDNR field office.

Other animals such as elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep are vulnerable.

There is no vaccine or effective treatment for the disease.

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