Small Flies Cause Deer Deaths in Waukesha County

EHD, or epizootic hemorrhagic disease is primarily targeted at white tail deer from a small fly called a midge, but humans shouldn't worry and other types of animals are rarely susceptible to the disease.

State wildlife officials Thursday confirmed that samples submitted from deer found dead in Waukesha, Dane and Sauk counties have tested positive for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease.

Residents in southern Wisconsin contacted the state Department of Natural Resources after noting small groups of dead deer. EHD has now been confirmed as the cause of death in Columbia, Rock, Sauk, Dane and Waukesha counties, and additional tests are pending from deer in Columbia, Iowa, Jefferson and Marquette counties.

The DNR did not say where in Waukesha County the deer were found.

“Our neighbor states have been seeing EHD outbreaks for the last several weeks and now it has made its way into southern Wisconsin,” Eric Lobner, DNR southern Wisconsin wildlife supervisor told WMTV in Madison. “It is a fairly common disease carried by midges, commonly referred to as no-see-ums, which are not a threat to humans, so there is no cause for alarm."

In addition, a report from the Pennsylvania Game Commission stated that "EHD rarely causes disease in domestic animals," so it's not likely that your pets are in any danger, either. However, the Wisconsin DNR recommended talking with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Wildlife officials also said the venison is safe to eat.

Lobner told the TV station that he was grateful that residents were so observant because enabled the agency to catch the outbreak in earlier stages and will help map where the problems are in the state. He added that colder temperatures will help to kill off the insects to bring the outbreak to an end.

EHD is often fatal, typically killing an infected deer within seven days.

Individuals that observe deer exhibiting the following signs are encouraged to report their observations to the DNR:

  • Excessive salivation or foaming around the nose and mouth.
  • Appearing weak and approachable by humans.
  • In or near water sources. They will often lay in water to cool down or drink.

As a result of this confirmation, the DNR is no longer collecting samples from dead deer found in counties with confirmed cases. However, officials do want to take samples from dead deer reported in counties where EHD has not been confirmed.

To report a sick deer observation please call the DNR call center toll free at 1-888-WDNR- INFo (1-888-936-7463), email DNRInfo@Wisconsin.gov, or use the chat feature on the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov/contact.

Staff are available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Please be prepared to provide details about the condition of the deer and the exact location where the deer was observed. Individuals interested in finding more information on sick deer in Wisconsin can visit the Wisconsin DNR website at keyword “sick deer.”

tracy rogers September 27, 2012 at 09:43 PM
That's sad!
Craig September 28, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Too much of Waukesha County does not allow gun hunting. This is sad to have deer killed and wasted, instead of harvested and feeding people. In areas where all hunting is prohibited, the populations have risen and will eventually cause disease and famine.


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