What is EHD?
o Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is an acute, infectious, viral disease found in wild ruminants like white-tailed deer.
- Where has EHD been found?
o EHD has been present in the United States for over 50 years now and no long-term effects on any deer herd have been recorded. Where EHD is more common, deer have built up antibodies to the disease. Michigan deer do not have the benefit of these antibodies. Losses may be severe, and while impacts on deer numbers are typically restricted to localized areas, recovery may take longer than has been experienced in other states. Large scale regional deer population decreases have not been observed.
o Die-offs attributed to EHD in Michigan have occurred periodically since 1955 in multiple counties including Allegan, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Berrien, Cass, Ottawa, St Joseph and Van Buren Counties with an estimated total mortality of 2,150 deer. There is an outbreak on-going currenty in Michigan (8/7/2012)
- How do deer get EHD?
o EHD is transmitted from deer to deer through the bite of a midge (small fly) called a biological vector. Transmission is not known to be possible through any other source. A deer must be bitten by a midge carrying the virus in order to become infected.
o The most common vector, Culicoides variipennis, cannot survive frost and dies come late autumn. Because of this, the disease appears during late summer and early fall (August-October) and ceases abruptly with the onset of frost.
- Can my livestock get EHD?
o EHD can infect domestic animals -- most commonly hoof stock, but rarely causes any disease.
- Can I get EHD?
o There is no evidence that shows humans can be infected.
- What are the symptoms of EHD?
o The disease has a sudden onset. White-tailed deer develop signs of illness about 7 days after exposure. Symptoms of the disease include; loss of appetite and fear of man, weakness, excessive salivation, rapid pulse and respiration rates, fever and unconsciousness. Dead deer are usually found near bodies of water as they use streams, rivers and lakes as places to cool themselves down from the fever. Eight to 36 hours following the onset of observable signs, deer pass into a shock-like state, lay down and die.
- How is EHD treated?
o There is no known effective treatment or control for EHD.
- What will EHD do to my local deer herd?
o Because of its very high mortality rate, EHD can have a significant effect upon a local deer population, reducing numbers drastically. However, large scale decreases on entire populations (statewide) have not been observed. EHD has been present in the United States for over 50 years now and no long-term effects on any deer herd have been recorded.
- What should I do if I find a dead deer on my property I suspect has died from EHD?
o If you find a dead deer you suspect has died from EHD, you should contact your nearest DNR office and report it. In the vicinity of Branch County, contact the Crane Pond field office (269) 244-5928 and in Ionia County, contact the Flat River field office (616) 794-2658. The DNR is collecting data where EHD outbreaks have occurred and to what extent the die-offs are happening.
- What can I do with the carcass?
o If you find a dead deer on your property you can either: let nature take its course and allow the carcass to decompose naturally or you can dispose of the carcass by burying it at a sufficient depth so that body parts are not showing.