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Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (E.H.D)

Discussion in 'Indiana Whitetail Hunting' started by Dean Weimer, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. I heard today from Gary Handlin, my friend and fellow HRBP scorer from Randy's neck of the woods, that they're losing deer in Vigo, Vermillion, Parke, Clay, etc. counties due to an outbreak of E.H.D, or Blue Tongue. Anyone know any more about this?? It seems as though someone was talking about this last week. Here is some information on a fairly common deer disease spread by biting nats during hot, dry weather. Remember, deer diseases like E.H.D, CWD, etc. have been out there for eons....this isn't Doom and Gloom folks.

    [font=arial,helvetica]FACT SHEET
    600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 [/font][font=arial,helvetica]

    October 1999 Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)

    Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)* is common to white-tailed deer, but rarely affects other species. It occurs in the driest part of the year when conditions are just right for biting gnats, the carriers of the disease.
    • The disease is not contagious from one animal to another, and it is not transferable to humans. It comes from a virus carried by biting gnats that live in or near water and wet, muddy areas. It is transmitted to deer that congregate at such watering holes during warm, dry weather.
    • The spread of the disease is usually cut short with colder, wetter weather that spreads deer out and away from gnat-infested areas, or the first hard frost, which will kill the disease-carrying gnats. Since the incubation period for the disease is five to 10 days, afflicted deer may be observed up to a couple of weeks after frost.
    • Deer in the early stages of EHD may appear lethargic, disoriented, lame, or unresponsive to humans. As the disease progresses the deer may have bloody discharge from the nose, lesions or sores on the mouth, and swollen, blue tongues. They become emaciated because they stop eating. Sometimes they even stop drinking, although many die close to or in water.
    • Other wildlife, like mule deer, elk, and bighorn sheep could be exposed to the disease but are usually not stricken like white-tailed deer. No evidence of an outbreak in these species has been found at this time nor in past outbreaks in recent years.
    • Domestic livestock could also be exposed, although cattle and sheep are usually only carriers, not victims, of the "Bluetongue" virus, which is very similar to EHD.
    • Since deer hunting season usually doesn't open until well after the first killing frost, deer hunters usually don't see live, infected animals. However, WDFW recommends hunters avoid shooting and consuming deer that show any EHD symptoms, even though the disease cannot be transmitted to humans.
    • EHD typically strikes in late summer and early fall during an unusually warm, dry year when wildlife concentrates at whatever water is available. Major outbreaks among white-tailed deer have occurred mid-August to mid-October in 1999 in northeast Washington (Spokane, Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan counties), 1998 in southeast Washington along the Snake River, and 1992 in northeast Washington.
    * ("Epizootic" means an animal epidemic. "Hemorrhagic" means to bleed or hemorrhage.)

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2006
  2. I've heard of finding them in Putnam and Sullivan counties also. I found a dead doe about 3 weeks ago while squirrel hunting in southeastern Clay county. At the time I thought she had been hit by a car and made it to the creek bottoms before she died, now I'm not so sure about that. Started hearing reports around 2 weeks ago about people finding dead deer. Makes me hope we get a real quick freeze.

  3. I know in Mich. they were having trouble with blue tongue in the goats.
  4. Dean...It was me that was asking questions about Blue Tongue disease. An 8 pt. buck was found dead in the water at the local Izaak Walton League in Vermillion County. The body was in the water and the head was out of the water still in velvet. I believe someone was going to retrieve it and contact the local CO. I had heard that EHD was in the area and that is why I was asking the questions after this deer was discovered. Thanks for the info.
  5. Unfortunately Randy, it seems as though you guys are going to lose some animals. Pray for rain, and or a good frost.
  6. seen this on a hunting show it's a sad sight to see our favorite animal suffer this deadly disease
  7. You know what Rook,if this is at Izaak, it could be a good thing! The deer might be able to give you a little longer time to draw and shoot ? I think that was the story Tree gave me on how he shot the "Boss" ,but I could be wrong?
  8. sssssshhhhhhhh!!!
  9. We had a "mystery disease" outbreak in Kent County, Michigan last year, which killed a number of deer. With all of the CWD fears a bunch of people ran in circles saying that "the sky is falling, CWD has come to Michigan." Given the fact that a bunch of deer were found dead in one location, it did not sound typical for CWD. At the time I speculated that it was Blue Tongue. Here is a post that I posted on the Michigan Forum at that time. I thought you might find it interesting. As mentioned Blue Tongue is spread by gnats and disappears after a heavy frost kills the gnats. As it turned out, the Michigan disease was EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which is spread by mosquitos.

    "It's much, much more likely that this is an outbreak of EHD (Epizootic Hemmorrhagic Disease) than CWD. The incubation period for CWD is something like 1-5 years. For a number of deer to show up at the same time and place exhibiting symptoms is highly unlikely. Here is a description of EHD taken from the MDNR website and yes, it's common in Michigan. I highlighted the sections that are most interesting.

    Transmission and Development
    The mode of transmission of EHD in nature is via a Culicoides biting fly or gnat. Culicoides variipennis is the most commonly incriminated vector in North America. A common observation in outbreaks involving large numbers of deer - as in Michigan, New Jersey and Alberta - is that they are single epizootics which do not recur. Die-offs involving small numbers of deer - as experienced in South Dakota and Nebraska - occur almost annually, and the disease appears to be enzootic in these areas. All documented outbreaks of EHD have occurred during late summer and early fall (August-October) and have ceased abruptly with the onset of frost.
    Experimentally, the disease can be transmitted to susceptible deer by the inoculation of virus-laden material from infected deer by subcutaneous, intramuscular, intravenous or oral routes.

    Clinical Signs
    Clinical signs of EHD and bluetongue are very similar. White-tailed deer develop signs of illness about 7 days after exposure. A constant characteristic of the disease is its sudden onset.
    Deer initially lose their appetite and fear of man, grow progressively weaker, often salivate excessively, develop a rapid pulse and respiration rate, and finally become unconscious.
    Hemorrhage and lack of oxygen in the blood results in a blue appearance of the oral mucosa, hence the name 'bluetongue'. Eight to 36 hours following the onset of observable signs, deer pass into a shock-like state, become prostrate and die.

    While it's possible that CWD will come to Michigan, this recent incident is more likely to be either EHD or Blue Tongue. "
  10. I was Talking with my Brother and he said that he watched a show on the Blue Tongue.And they said that you will find the Deer Dead close to Water.The Deers Tongue swell and they can't Drink.They usally Die trying to Drink....It Only affects the Male Deer...
  11. We found 4 dead does within 20 ft of each other at my brothers property in southern vigo co this fall during gun season.
    All were within 10 yards of a watering hole.
    I have spoken to several others who have observed the same thing.
    I think it is much more of a problem than is being sold.
  12. According to Dr. Kroll, it is actually beneficial for the deer that actually survive EHD to build up resistance to the disease, so that future outbreaks won't be so bad. It is the combination of this, and the recent warming trends that have been witnessed in many areas of N. America, that proves to be so devastating to "northern" herds that haven't experienced EHD outbreaks before.

    With the climatological warming that we've experience recently, look for EHD to spread to areas that it hasn't before. The gnats and midges that carry it have experienced excellent breeding scenarios in places that they never used to due to this warming trend. These blood sucking insects fly from one deer to another, passing the virus from infected animals to non-infected animals. If EHD does break out in areas that have never experienced it before, it could prove to be devastating to these herds who have never built up any resistance to it, and are grossly overpopulated. This is yet more reason for people to shoot does in areas that have way too many deer.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2007
  13. Always something from someplace else coming in to spoil the party.
    The chestnut blight, dutch elm disease, killer bees, fire ants, anaconda's, cane toads, ash borers and now midget midges . . .
    I think we should have opted for seclusionism 200 years ago myself.
  14. EHD has been around for eons. It has just been more prevalent in the SW U.S. based on a warmer climate there, and thus better breeding grounds for midges and gnats. The term E.H.D was coined in the 1950s after outbreaks occurred in New Jersey and Michigan. Some of you may remember the decade as a hot one...much like what we are experiencing here nowadays. Is it Global Warming?? Noone knows for sure, but the fact is that E.H.D is a fact of life that is nothing new, but could influence deer populations continent wide from here on out.
  15. Just a couple of nits to pick. Not to be confused with gnats or midges.;)


    Not true at all. EHD and blue tongue will affect all deer..The young (both sexes) are most susceptible

    Blue Tongue and EHD are simliar but different. However, they are both Hemmorrhagic diseases that can be devastating in small pockets of deer. It can wipe out a local herd and a 1/2 mile down the road - nothing.

    Although it hurts for awhile the herd will recover nicely.