Whitetail Deer Disease: Understanding EHD
Written by Kari Singleton
WWA Social Media Coordinator/Female Prostaff Coordinator
It seems like every 3 to 4 years we are talking about large outbreaks of whitetail deer disease; however, it is important to note that these diseases are also common to mule deer and antelope as well. And, this year (2017), the disease we are all worrying about is EHD. Cases are quickly popping up and being reported throughout the United States. As deer hunters, it is important that we know the signs of deer disease and what we should do if we see an affected animal. So, let’s take a closer look at the disease we are all talking about this year.
EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease)
First, it is important to know that EHD is a virus. And, more importantly, it is not contagious. In other words, it cannot be spread from deer to deer. Instead, this disease is spread mainly via the midge, which is a small biting fly (also known as no-see-ums, sandflies, punkies, and various other names). EHD is also simply called HD, and may even be referred to as blue tongue. And although very similar, blue tongue and EHD (HD) are not the same disease.
Now, let’s look at why it seems to be more prevalent in certain years. EHD most commonly occurs
Next, what are the signs and symptoms, and is EHD fatal? Let’s start with the last part of that
EHD is a rapidly developing disease with symptoms appearing in as little as 7 days after being bitten. The disease is most prevalent during the months of August through October. Once cooler temperatures, particularly frost come on, the disease tends to disappear as the midges begin dying off.
Well, that pretty much sums up what EHD is. I’m sure you’re wondering though if the meat from a deer with EHD is safe to eat. And, according to current research, yes it is. Remember, this EHD is not contagious and there are no reported cases of anyone becoming sick from eating an afflicted animal. However, whether or not you want to eat the meat from a sick deer is completely up to you.
Now, what should you do if you suspect a deer has EHD or you find a deer that you think may have died from the disease? I’m sure you already know the answer to that, but of course you should contact your local wildlife office or state wildlife office or department of natural resources.
Hopefully this answers some of your questions or concerns about EHD. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below, or you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.