Conn. (WTNH) — For the third year in a row, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) confirmed hemorrhagic disease in white-tailed deer.

According to DEEP, the first positive case of 2022 was found in a deer in Goshen — the first documented case in the state since 2017. Then, a second positive deer was found on a property in Kent, where an additional five deer were found dead, as well as a third deer on a property in East Haddam where three more deer were found dead.

DEEP said there have been multiple reports of dead deer in other towns, mainly in the northwest and southeast parts of the state, that fit the description of animals affected by hemorrhagic disease.

While there are different forms of the disease, DEEP said it can usually kill an animal quickly, between one and three days of infection.

Symptoms in deer include a swollen head, neck, tongue, or eyelids with bloody discharge from the nasal cavity, as well as erosion of the upper dental pad or ulcers on the tongue. Hemorrhaging of the heart and lungs is also a sign of concern, which causes respiratory distress. These symptoms, however, may not always be present.

DEEP said infected deer may be found near water sources, as the virus creates high fevers.

The disease can spread through biting midges, which are commonly referred to as sand gnats or no-see-ums. Other animals can also spread and suffer from the disease, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and elk.

The drought is likely to blame, DEEP said, noting that outbreaks tend to occur during years where drought conditions are prevalent, as well as the late summer and early fall due to an increase in midge numbers. The outbreaks typically cease with the onset of a hard-frost, as midges carrying the virus will die off.

Although the disease can be deadly to deer, hemorrhagic disease does not infect humans, and people are not at risk by handling infected deer. The disease also rarely causes illness in domestic animals.

Anyone who observes a deer appearing emaciated, behaving strangely, or lying dead along the edge of waterbodies should report the information to the DEEP Wildlife Division at andrew.labonte@ct.gov or by calling (860) 418-5921. Road-killed deer, however, should be reported to local or state police.