Illinois and New Jersey Wildlife Officials Warn of EHD Outbreaks in Deer

Posted: September 2, 2015 by gamegetterII in Uncategorized

There have been EHD outbreaks in Ohio recently as well, usually in dry summers,the outbreaks can decimate local deer populations,as the 2012 outbreaks did in northern Summit and SE Geauga counties. I was talking to a couple of ODNR game wardens in 2012 at the Ladue public hunting area,and they told me they had counted 30 dead deer along a 1 mile section of the Cuyahoga river,farmers in the area that I talked to told me they had dead deer all around the streams and ponds on their farms in 2012. The deer numbers around the Ladue public hunting area appear to be back up-according to a friend who lives next to part of the hunting area.

The Summit county outbreak was in the area around our home.The deer populations are just now getting back to near where they were,northern Summit county deer are having a harder time gaining numbers due to coyote predation,with high ‘yote numbers,and very little private land on which to hunt or trap ‘yotes.

From Illinois and NJ-

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is asking the public to be aware of any white-tailed deer that may be affected by Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, and to report any suspected instances since outbreaks typically begin in August.

Although EHD is not a public health issue, it is the most important viral disease that affects white-tail deer in the United States according to the
Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife reports that the state has experienced seven outbreaks of the disease since 1955. The virus is transmitted by a type of biting fly, commonly known as a biting midge, but have also been called sand gnats, sand flies, no-see-ums, or punkies.

The last outbreak of the disease in Sussex County came back in 1975, while parts of Morris and Warren Counties have had confirmed isolated cases of the virus show up in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

According to the University of Georgia, an easy lesion to spot where EHD could be expected is an erosion of the dental pad. Any deer with growth interruptions in their hooves or chronic lesions of the first part of the stomach, or rumen, by a hunter can suspect there was exposure to EHD.
The university noted that the geographic range of the disease year-by-year appears to be expanding. The division hopes that any deer exhibiting the symptoms of the disease will be reported to the Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensics or the Bureau of Wildlife Management.

The signs of the disease this time of year are difficulty standing, drooling, foaming from the mouth or a carcass with no apparent wounds near water.
Another closely-related disease to EHD, named “Bluetongue,” or BT, was detected in deer for the first time in New Jersey last year. For New
Jerseyans and Sussex County natives, it is important to be aware of the disease because EHD can effect livestock, mostly cattle, while
Bluetongue is a disease of concern for all ruminant livestock, including sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas.
The public is not at risk to contract the disease and cannot be infected by handling infected deer, being bitten by infected midges or eating infected
deer meat, although the latter is strongly advised against. Dogs and cats are not susceptible to the disease either.

Unfortunately, there are no current strategies available to prevent or control EHD in the deer population. But, any livestock owners who believe their animals have been inflicted with the disease should contact a veterinarian for appropriate assistance.


The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is asking Illinoisans to be on the lookout for signs of a disease fatal to deer.

According to IDNR, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is a virus that causes high fevers and kills deer hours of days after it’s contracted. Small insects called midges carry the disease and transfer it to deer by biting. Midges live and breed near water sources such as ponds, lakes, or creeks. Deer often contract the disease while drinking and die nearby.

The disease has no known effect to humans or domestic animals but can kill off localized deer populations in high numbers, according to wildlife ecologist Eric Schauber with Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“It’s a big deal because we get these occasional periods and places where we can get these occasional periods and places where you can get fairly heavy mortality and it can kill off a substantial fraction of the population,” Schauber said.

Most cases are reported during drought years, Schauber said. He said there are several cases in the Southern region each year but most cases are reported in the central part of the state.

“In general, in terms of the Southern part of the state it doesn’t seem to have a big impact on the population as it potentially could in the central part of the state where the habitat is mostly along waterways,” Schauber said.

Schauber said deer that have contracted the virus often exhibit odd behavior such as walking aimlessly, having no fear of people, panting or sticking its tongue out, and having a swollen face or body.

The last major outbreak of EHD in Ill. was in 2012, according to IDNR. 51 counties had reports of deer being killed because of the virus.

The IDNR is asking anyone who thinks they may have spotted a deer infected with EHD to contact their local IDNR biologist or the Wildlife Disease and Invasive Species Program.


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