RENO, Nev. (AP) - Scientists across the West are concerned about a growing infestation of exotic deer lice that appears to be killing Columbian black-tailed and mule deer and recently turned up in Nevada
Researchers say the non-native lice first appeared in the mid-1990s. They apparently weaken the deer during the winter, causing hair loss and distracting them from hungry predators like mountain lions.
The infestation's been on the rise especially in Oregon, Washington, California and New Mexico.
Nevada's first case was reported in 2011 near Tonopah. Suspected cases also turned up last year near Fallon and on a ranch near the Utah line south of Great Basin National Park.
Nevada wildlife veterinarian Peregrine Wolff tells the Reno Gazette-Journal they've basically documented it now statewide. She says no one understands why's apparently spreading.