Viral infection from sheep likely killed deer

6/21/2014 8:00 AM
By Associated Press

BOAZ, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's state veterinarian says a domesticated sheep is the likely source of a sickness that has killed more than 50 whitetail deer at a captive breeding facility near Boaz.

Dr. Tony Frazier tells ( ) that testing indicates that bovine herpes virus Type 2, a viral infection commonly called malignant catarrhal fever, is likely the primary cause of the deaths. Frazier says sheep commonly carry the virus but don't exhibit symptoms.

The sheep was in the same enclosure with the deer and Frazier says it's possible the virus was transmitted through common food and watering troughs or by transfer of the virus on boot heels or tractor tires.

Frazier says a few more tests are needed to determine the sequence of events that led to the deer deaths.

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