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DNR Announces EHD Has Been Found in Muskegon County

September 20th, 2013

The presence of Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) was confirmed in a white-tailed deer in Eastern Muskegon County just after Labor Day.

The disease is caused by a virus that is transmitted by an infected biting fly or midge. EHD is characterized by a sudden onset, where deer can suffer extensive internal bleeding, loss of appetite and fear of humans. Infected deer will grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively and finally become unconscious. Infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water. There is no known effective treatment or control of EHD. However, the first, hard frost should kill the flies that carry the virus.

To this point, the DNR has received reports that about 25 to 50 deer have died in the area. It would not be surprising if more dead deer are found as farmers harvest their crops, hunting seasons begin and this report receives public attention. This EHD outbreak is likely similar to outbreaks that have occurred annually for the last decade in Michigan and appears to be localized. It seems to be isolated to a small area just north east of Ravenna.

At this time, there is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus either from the midge or from handling and eating venison of infected deer. It is also important to note that deceased deer do not harbor EHD and can’t infect others. The virus can only be transmitted by the insect vector.  It is alright to leave carcasses where they are found, bury them entirely, or bring them to a local landfill that accepts solid wastes.

The DNR has publicly thanked MUCC and its members for highlighting the importance of communications in investigating the extent of EHD outbreaks, through action on MUCC’s resolution in 2012 brought forward by the MUCC Wildlife Committee, the DNR has been quick to ask for information from hunters and landowners that discover dead deer and collect that information.

The DNR asks anyone discovering multiple dead deer, especially in or near water, or people seeking more information contact their local wildlife biologist at the nearest DNR office. Office locations can be found at www.michigan.gov/wildlife under Wildlife Offices. Report any sick deer observed or harvested during hunting season to the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab at (517) 336-5030 or to your local field office. After hours, contact the DNR RAP line at 800-292-7800.

In addition, anyone may visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases for more information about EHD.

 

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