Deer deaths blamed on fly-biting disease

Thousands of deer around the state of Missouri have been reported dead.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says the deer appear to have fallen victim to hemorrhagic disease, which is spread by the bites of the small midge fly.

As of mid-September, the department had received reports of about 2,800 dead deer, with the disease being the suspected cause.

The department says outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease tend to increase during droughts, when deer and flies both congregate near the diminished number of watering spots.

People don't get the disease. So the department says handling and eating meat from deer that have recovered from the disease poses no health hazard.