EHD virus confirmed in Ohio deer and cattle

The first confirmed case of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) was recently announced in both white-tailed deer and cattle in Ohio. The virus was diagnosed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL).

The positive diagnoses were from a cow from Jefferson County and a wild white-tailed deer buck from Lorain County. The discovery is not unusual, as cases of this infection have been detected in both wild and captive white-tailed deer in Ohio in the summer and fall of each of the last several years. In fact, significant disease outbreaks in Ohio have occurred every five years, the last in 2012. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife (DOW) reports numerous dead deer from Columbiana and Jefferson counties. EHD virus has also been confirmed in neighboring counties of both Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

The EHD virus is not infectious to people and is not spread from animal to animal. It is transmitted by the bite of small midges, so infections are often seen in Ohio in late summer and early fall. EHD-associated deaths can occur up through the first frost of the year. Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to ten days and many deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms. People should always avoid touching or handling sick or dead wild animals.

White-tailed deer, along with mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope are susceptible to the disease. Deer infected with this virus may show symptoms including lethargy, head hung down, loss of fear of humans, swelling of the tongue and head and neck, difficulty breathing and excess salivation due to tongue swelling or ulcers in the mouth. Affected deer are often found in or near bodies of water, likely due to fever and dehydration.

Cattle may show signs including swelling of the muzzle, oral erosions, salivation, off feed condition and fever. Affected cattle and sheep may also show signs as described for deer as described above. Such cases in cattle and sheep may mimic other reportable diseases such as foot and mouth disease, bluetongue and vesicular stomatitis. Producers and animal owners are strongly encouraged to report such cases to their veterinarian.

Veterinarians have been alerted about the confirmed tests and should report suspect cases in livestock to ODA at 614-728-6220. Sightings of sick or dead deer should be directed to the ODNR-DOW at 1-800-WILDLIFE.

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7 comments

  1. I have found several dead deer this past week. Hopefully it doesn’t get much worse.

  2. I found a deer dead covered in maggots no bones missing or no signs of any coyotes in Sheffield Village Ohio and haven’t seen as many deer as usual I live right next to French creek park where I always see deer. I hope frost comes quick this year or it might be awhile before I get to watch the buck’s in my backyard again

  3. Found a nice 9pt in the pond, and a 10pt in the creek. I’ve heard areas in north eastern Ohio are getting hit hard. What can be done if anything?

  4. Found a dead deer in our pond today. Located outside of Bergholz, Ohio on the Jefferson /Carroll County line.

  5. We have always had many deer at the farm where we keep our horses in Cuyahoga County near the Metroparks in Berea. During the past week the entire neighborhood has had the stench of death and we haven’t seen any deer since last Saturday, 9/23. We fear they are all dead.

  6. Just found a buck down by the creek on our property. Looks like coyotes have dragged it off into a hiding spot under a tree but the smell led us to it. Moreland Hills, OH

  7. Hunted Perry/Muskingum county Oct 9-12th 2017 bow season.
    Found several dead deer near water/creek areas, was told in Perry county several deer were found dead.

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