The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it has received scattered reports of dead deer around water sources this summer. D.N.R. wildlife research supervisor, Willie Suchy, says they believe the dead deer are due to a disease called E-H-D.
“Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, ant it’s a virus that’s transmitted by a biting midge. And in dry years deer get concentrated around somewhat limited water and if they happen to be going to a water source where the midges are around and they get infected, then you can have a more significant die off than that local area and that’s what we’re seeing,” according to Suchy.
He says they are asking the public to report any deer that are dead or don’t appear to be acting normally. He says you should call your local D.N.R. officer if you see something like this. “the other thing is we are always on the lookout for animals that are diseased and sick. And right now if it’s E-H-D there’s not much you can do, the disease will take its course. But there are other things we can monitor for,” he says.
Suchy says the deaths due to E-H-D don’t pose a major threat to the deer population. “At this point it’s above what we normally would see and this is kind of what we would be expecting with the dry weather,” Suchy says. He says the last big outbreak of 1988 and deer numbers then were down a little bit, but he says they bounce back.
The disease has also shown up in Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri and Michigan. E-H-D remains active until rain disperses the deer or a heavy frost kills the midges.