Game Commission: Pneumonia likely caused mysterious deer deaths


The Pennsylvania Game Commission says the mystery surrounding the deaths of perhaps two dozen deer in upper Dauphin County might have been solved.

Preliminary test results have come back for three deer picked up in the Powell’s Valley area, and all three had one or more types of pneumonia, the Game Commission said in a news release Monday.

Investigators are testing the deer for other diseases but do not yet have the results of those tests.

“It appears pneumonia was present in the local herd and the smaller, weaker animals – characteristics of many of those that were reported dead – succumbed to the disease,” Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said in the news release. “The dehydration symptoms apparent in the deer initially examined by the Game Commission also could be attributed to pneumonia.

Lau said pneumonia is a rare occurrence in deer, and the reasons it might have cropped up in the area are unknown.

He said reports of dead and sickly deer in Powell’s Valley have tapered off in recent weeks, which could indicate the problem has been alleviated.

The Game Commission encourages people in the area who see deer that appear to be sick, or encounter deer that have died from unapparent causes, to report them to the Southeast Region Office at 610-926-3136.

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