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DNR Confirms EHD in Buffalo County Deer
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 10/05/2020

State wildlife officials have confirmed that a tissue sample collected from a deer in Buffalo County has tested positive for the virus that causes epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD. This occurrence of the disease was identified after several landowners in the area contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with recent observations totaling 30-35 dead deer north of Fountain City. EHD was detected in a deer from Oconto County earlier this month.

"We are fortunate that the public is keeping a close eye on the herd's health and quickly reported these mortalities," said DNR Wildlife Management Supervisor Kris Johansen. "We ask that the public continue reporting observations of sick or dead deer. These observations will help us evaluate the geographic distribution and number of deer affected by this disease."

The virus that causes EHD can be carried by midges, which are small flies also known as biting gnats or no-see-ums. The EHD virus does not infect humans. People are not at risk of developing disease from this virus even if they handle infected deer, eat venison from infected deer or are bitten by infected midges.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is common across the southern and western United States, occasionally showing up in the Midwest. It can be fatal to deer, especially in populations that have limited previous exposure to the virus, such as in Wisconsin. The disease is typically short-lived, as the flies that transmit the disease die with the first hard frost. When deer die of EHD, they typically expire within seven days of infection.

The EHD virus has previously been identified in Wisconsin, generally with varying localized impacts on deer. In the fall of 2019, an EHD outbreak in Crawford and six surrounding counties affected approximately 300 deer. A single case was confirmed in 2017. In 2012, an EHD outbreak was suspected of killing approximately 380 deer in Dane and Columbia counties.

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