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August 28, 2007

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EHD In Your Area?

Abnormally dry conditions in parts of the country this year have contributed to an increase in whitetail mortality from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a cyclical malady that has been known to severely impact deer populations in some regions.

Thus far, a high number of EHD-related deer deaths have been reported in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

Just yesterday, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reported at least 100 deer died from EHD in Greene and Washington counties, and that number was expected to increase.White_tailed_deer2

EHD, which is known colloquially as blue tongue, is a common deer disease contracted by gnat-like biting midges. Deer can die within five to ten days after being bitten, but the disease is not always fatal.

Symptoms of the disease include a high fever and swelling of tissues around the eyes and mouth area, often causing a rosy or bluish color (hence the “blue tongue” moniker). Sick deer often lose their appetite, coordination and their fear of normal dangers.

EHD is not transmittable to humans nor does the meat from an infected animal pose any health risk.

Perhaps the biggest downside for hunters is that EHD can potentially devastate a healthy deer herd in small pockets and areas where large numbers of deer tend to congregate. And it can do so in a relatively short period of time.

I reside in one of the 14 affected counties in southernmost Indiana, and I’ve already seen four carcasses in less than a week, just during my regular morning and evening walks. And all of them have been near water sources, which is common as the infected animals try to fight the effects of fever and mouth-swelling.

Unfortunately, the only thing that will put a definite stop to an EHD outbreak is a good hard fall freeze, and that's not likely to occur for some time.

In the meantime, there’s not much we can do except hope for a minimal deer loss.

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Comments

jstreet

I also live in southern indiana and hope this outbreak doesn't cause a major die off of the herd.

Guess there isn't much to do other than wait and see.

C'mon fall!!!!

gamblinp

Has anyone heard of this hitting Georgia yet?

Tim

I am from Greene county Pa and the death toll is rising RAPIDLY. We are into the several hundreds and that is just what is known and reported. Many others are being found and not reported since the problem is already well known and there are other areas where noone has been looking. Most of the county has been effected but seems the western part has been hit hardest. all surrounding counties have been hit as well to some extent. Has just been found this week in Western Fayette for first time.