COLUMBUS, OH -- State wildlife officials reported today a
localized outbreak of what is suspected to be a common
white-tailed deer disease in Clermont and Brown counties.
Approximately 100 deer may have been affected by the outbreak.
Officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)
Division of Wildlife have sent samples to be analyzed by the
Ohio Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Diagnostic
Laboratory in Reynoldsburg. It is speculated that epizootic
hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is the source of the illnesses.
State wildlife officials stress to those planning on
hunting in these areas this fall that although this disease
does not affect humans nor impact the safety of consumed deer,
hunters should report deer that appear to be sick or diseased
to their local wildlife officer. Deer that appear unhealthy
should not as a rule be taken for human food. State animal
health officials stressed that the outbreak is not related to
Chronic Wasting Disease.
White-tailed deer contract epizootic hemorrhagic disease
from the bite of gnats which live near water. The onset of
cold weather suppresses the disease and frosts drive the gnats
into winter inactivity.
The disease is not spread from deer to deer or from deer to
humans. Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to 10
days. Infected deer initially lose appetite and fear of man,
grow progressively weaker, often salivate excessively and
become unconscious. Many deer die within 36 hours of the onset
of symptoms. According to the University of Georgia's annual
Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, epizootic
hemorrhagic disease is the most common ailment affecting deer
in the Eastern United States. This disease occurs annually in
deer herds across North America. Outbreaks of the disease have
occurred in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and West
Last year there was an outbreak in Gallia, Meigs, and
Vinton counties. Suspected cases occurred in Ohio in Greene
County in 1997 and in Muskingum County in 1980. The disease is
common in portions of the northern Great Plains and the
Southeastern United States. It was first identified in 1955 in
White-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and
pronghorn antelope are susceptible to epizootic hemorrhagic
disease. Domestic cattle and other livestock are generally not
at risk. Livestock owners finding animals with similar
symptoms are advised to contact their veterinarians.