Deer disease EHD reported in state, including Walworth, Rock counties
MADISON A new viral deer disease transmitted by a biting fly known as a midge is suspected of killing deer in Wisconsin, the state Department of Natural Resources said Friday.
The disease known as EHD — or epizootic hemorrhagic disease — has been reported for years in neighboring states. Hot, dry conditions have increased its presence in the Upper Midwest this year. It is more common in the South.
Eric Lobner, a district wildlife supervisor for DNR, said the outbreak appears to be centered in Columbia County, but dead deer have also been reported in Waukesha, Walworth and Rock counties.
He said about 30 deer have been affected so far.
The disease causes internal bleeding, high fever, loss of appetite and weakness. Infected deer are often found sick or dead along bodies of water.
Lobner said any impact on deer population will be minimal and isolated. The disease is typically short lived as the flies that transmit it die with the first hard frost.
There is no way to treat or control the spread of EHD and it is not a threat to humans, Lobner said.
The last time EHD was observed in Wisconsin was in Iowa County in 2002 when 14 deer died.
Anyone who comes across a dead deer is encouraged to contact the DNR so it can keep track of how widespread the outbreak is.