CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — Maryland wildlife managers are reporting an increase in mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites, among Maryland black bears.

The Cumberland Times-News reported Tuesday that the Department of Natural Resources has found the disease in six bears killed by vehicles or euthanized by the agency this year. Wildlife specialist Clarissa Harris says that compares with just one or two cases in each of the past five years.

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The disease causes hair loss and weakens the animal’s immune system. Its spread is often associated with dense animal populations.

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Wildlife officials say Maryland’s black bear population has more than doubled since 2005.

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The four-day bear hunting season opens Oct. 20, in Garrett and Allegany counties only.
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