A white-tailed deer
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has received reports of 47 suspected cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in wild white-tailed deer so far in 2015.
The disease appears to be more prevalent in west-central Illinois counties including Adams, McDonough and surrounding counties. In all, reports have come from 17 counties. EHD was also confirmed in captive deer herds in Adams and Schuyler counties with heavy losses reported.
Scattered cases were reported across the southern third of Illinois as well as two counties (Stephenson and Winnebago) in northern Illinois. The disease also was confirmed in multiple cattle herds in Jo Daviess County.
The worst year for the disease was 2012 when 2,043 cases were reported from 76 counties. In 2013, IDNR received reports of 403 cases from 51 counties. The disease was virtually absent in 2014.
IDNR continues to ask landowners, hunters and concerned citizens to be on the lookout for dead or dying deer, and to report suspected cases to their local IDNR field office or to the Wildlife Disease and Invasive Species Program. IDNR is especially interested in sick or recently dead animals as staff may attempt to collect tissue samples in order to confirm the presence of the virus.
Contact information for local IDNR biologists is available at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/professionals.cfm. Contact the Wildlife Disease and Invasive Species Program at (815) 369-2414 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide your name and contact information as well as the county, number of dead/sick deer, sex (if known), age (fawn or adult) and specific location of the deer (distance/direction from the nearest town or intersection of two roads).
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is a viral disease of white-tailed deer that can cause localized die-offs when conditions are favorable for transmission. Infected animals develop a high fever and dead animals often are found near water sources. Hunters may encounter deer killed by the disease when they go into the woods during the upcoming deer hunting seasons. Outbreaks typically end when freezing weather kills insects that spread the virus. While often fatal to deer, the disease is not hazardous to humans or pets. The disease has been shown to affect livestock, so producers are encouraged to be vigilant.
The virus is transmitted between deer by a midge that hatches from muddy areas along lakes/ponds and streams/rivers. Although the disease is observed somewhere in Illinois every year, cases are more numerous during hot and dry summer weather conditions, presumably because receding water levels create these muddy areas, providing breeding sites for the midges. Limited water resources also congregate deer at remaining watering sites, creating conditions favorable for disease transmission.
A map showing the distribution of EHD-suspected deer reports as of September 15 for 2015 is available at www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Documents/EHDMap-Sep2015.pdf.