Two white-tailed deer have been diagnosed with epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in a southwestern county of Michigan. Last year 250 deer in that Michigan county died of the disease.
A Michigan Department of Natural Resources press release has the details of the finding, plus a history of EHD in the state. The release states: “More frequent outbreaks of EHD in Michigan could be a consequence of climate changes that favor the northward spread of the biting flies that spread the disease, said Russ Mason, chief of the DNR Wildlife Division.”
EHD is endemic to North America. The disease is most common in white-tailed deer, but can infect all ruminants. Humans are not known to catch the disease.
Few deer die from the disease in the southeastern U.S., which experiences a mild form of the disease. Outbreaks in the Midwest and Northeast can range from a small outbreak with few deaths to something more widespread. The severity of the outbreak depends on the weather (wet weather favors breeding midges), how many of the biting midges are around, herd immunity, and other factors.