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Map of EHD occurrences in Illinois through Sept. 30. Map courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Illinois EHD outbreak not as severe as 2012

October 15, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Prairie State Outdoors

Illinois is experiencing an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) this fall, but it is not as severe or extensive as in 2012.

A total of 403 dead deer have been reported from 51 counties as of Sept. 30, according to figures compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

This compares to 2,043 deer reported as probable EHD deaths from 76 counties at the same time last year.

EHD is a viral disease, spread by biting gnats, which can cause high fever and severe internal bleeding in deer.

EHD if often fatal is deer, but is not hazardous to humans or pets.

EHD-like symptoms in cattle have been reported where EHD has been confirmed in deer. Cattle can be successfully treated with medication.

Hardest hit counties in 2013 include Woodford (68), Jo Daviess (64), Pike and Adams (35 and 29, respectively), and Fulton (32).

The hardest hit counties from last year (Cook, Macon, Shelby, Coles, and Calhoun) are reporting little if any EHD this year, a result of resistance to the disease within the local deer populations that results from exposure to the virus, according to DNR.

Drought conditions exacerbate EHD outbreaks because deer are forced to congregate around limited water supplies where gnats and the virus are present.

There is no effective management treatment for this disease. An insect-killing frost will end an EHD outbreak.

EHD was first identified in 1955 in Michigan and New Jersey. Missouri and Iowa also are reporting EHD-related deer mortalities this year.

Outbreaks of EHD and a similar disease known as “blue tongue” are regular events in the southern United States.

If you discover sick or dead deer on your property and suspect the deaths may be the result of EHD, report your findings to the nearest DNR field office.

Discoveries of EHD-related deer mortality may also be reported to Doug Dufford, DNR wildlife disease and invasive species program manager, at (815) 535-2875 or e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Include your name and contact phone number as well as the county, number of dead deer, sex (if known) and specific location.

Include the distance and direction from the nearest town or intersection of two roads.

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