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EHD outbreak in Michigan

From Michigan Department of Natural Resources

-- Michigan’s DNR is reporting a total of 10,430 white-tailed deer have died from Epozootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) from August 7 through October 16.

The hardest-hit counties are Ionia County with 2,184 deaths, Kent County with 1,604 and Barry County with 966. Twenty-nine counties in Michigan have been impacted by EHD in 2012.

"The number of deer listed on the map and in the table is a minimum number, since not all deer that die are reported. The DNR is very thankful to the many hunters and volunteers that are working with us to provide this information. This is a horrible disease for hunters, the public in general, and DNR personnel to see impacting deer,” according to Brent Rudolph, Wildlife Research Specialist and Deer and Elk Program Leader.

“While nobody is pleased to be dealing with this, we'll get through it, these local deer populations will rebound, and we can at least be thankful this is not a disease with human health concerns or permanent impacts on the health of our deer."

The Wildlife Division will be taking reports of dead deer that are likely EHD-related until January 1, 2013.

“Once we have positive laboratory confirmation of the presence of EHD in an area, generally a county, we do not collect or test additional animals from that same area. That does not mean that we are no longer interested in additional reports of dead deer in those areas. We want all reports,” said Doug Reeves, assistant chief of the Wildlife Division.

Michigan hunters or residents can report the presence of dead deer by contacting the nearest MDNR Wildlife office or fill out the Sick or diseased bird or mammal Reporting Form. If you have specific information that has been reported to you is not first hand, you may report it on the same form, Reeves explained.

Questions about the EHD outbreak can be directed to the Wildlife Disease Lab at (517)336-5030 or by sending an email to: cooleyt2@michigan.gov.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is an acute, infectious, viral disease found in wild ruminants like white-tailed deer. It does not affect humans so edibility of the venison is not impacted by this disease. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus either from the midge or from handling and eating venison.

EHD has been present in the United States for over 50 years now and no long-term effects on any deer herd have been recorded. Where EHD is more common, deer have built up antibodies to the disease.

Michigan deer do not have the benefit of these antibodies. Losses may be severe, and while impacts on deer numbers are typically restricted to localized areas, recovery may take longer than has been experienced in other states. Large scale regional deer population decreases have not been observed.

For more information on EHD, visit http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150-26647--,00.html.

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