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Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (Deer)

The ODNR is seeking reports of dead/sick deer to help us track potential disease outbreaks. If you observe a deer that is behaving abnormally, please contact us directly by phone so that we can take appropriate action in a timely manner. Otherwise, you can report your observations online.

General Information about EHD

  • Does not affect humans nor does it impact the safety of consumed venison.
  • Caused by the bite of an infected midge (a type of fly) and once there has been a hard freeze, these insects die off for the winter, eliminating new cases of EHD.
  • One of the most common diseases of white-tailed deer in the United States.
  • Outbreaks often associated with drought.
  • Can result in high deer mortality in some areas but populations usually bounce back within a few years.
  • Midwestern deer populations have developed little resistance to EHD and are likely to die within three days following the onset of symptoms.
  • Carcasses are often recovered near water.
  • There is currently no treatment for EHD in wild populations.

Learn more about EHD in the Ohio Deer Season Summary. Contact us with questions and concerns or to report a deer that appears sick.

Symptoms 

  • Symptoms vary and usually develop about seven days after exposure.
  • Deer appear disoriented and show little or no fear of humans.
  • Animals may appear feverish.
  • Pronounced swelling of head, neck, tongue and eyelids
  • May have respiratory distress.

Transmission 

  • EHD does not pose a serious threat to livestock (according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture).
  • The virus deteriorates in fewer than 24 hours after death and cannot be spread from deer carcasses.
  • No risk has been shown to be associated with direct exposure to the virus or in consuming a deer that has been infected with the virus.
  • To be cautious, never kill or eat a sick deer. Depending on the actual illness, the deer may be unfit for consumption. Without testing, we cannot be certain what a sick deer is suffering from.
  • Use rubber gloves to field dress deer.

EHD in Ohio (Updated Oct. 9, 2020)

2020 EHD in Ohio map