Virus Affecting Local Deer

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The local Animal Warden reports that several dead white-tailed deer infected with the Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) Virus have been reported in Mayfield Village. The Virus is not infectious to humans or domestic animals. See below for additional information from ODNR.  Sightings of sick or dead deer should be reported to the Police Department at 440.461.1234.


So far in 2017, EHD has been confirmed in two Ohio counties – a wild deer in Lorain and a dairy cow in Jefferson – as well as in the neighboring states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We have received additional reports of unexplained deer deaths and sickness in Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Ross, Washington, Brown, Highland and Geauga counties. Thus far, there have been no confirmed cases of EHD in captive deer. It is very important that you contact us to report any dead or sick deer so that we can document the distribution and severity of the disease outbreak.

General Information:

    • EHD does not affect humans, nor impact the safety of consumed deer.
    • EHD is caused by the bite of an infected midge and once there has been a hard freeze, the insects die off for the winter, eliminating new cases of EHD.
    • Most significant disease of white-tailed deer in the United States.
    • Virus identified and described in 1955 in New Jersey.
    • Enzootic to Southeastern United States.
    • Outbreaks often associated with drought.
    • Can result in high deer mortality in some areas.
    • Highly virulent strains may cause death in 1-3 days.
    • Carcasses often recovered near water.


    • Symptoms vary depending on virulence of the virus and resistance of the deer.
    • 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.


  • 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.