From the Indiana DNR.. For immediate release: Oct. 11, 2007 EHD won't have long-term affect on state's deer herd The epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreak that has been killing deer throughout the state may affect certain local deer herds this year, but likely will not have any long-term effects, according to a DNR deer research biologist. “We have had more reports this year than in recent history, particularly in the southwest and southeast part of the state, and we’ll probably see those effects in the harvest data at the end of the year,” said the DNR's Chad Stewart. “But those areas also have some of the highest deer densities in the state, so there are likely to be more deer affected and found dead.” Since those areas have so many deer to begin with, Stewart said, they should also be able to withstand the outbreak better than other parts of the state might. EHD is often mistakenly called bluetongue virus (BTV). Although similar, EHD and BTV are two genetically different viruses. Deer in Indiana have tested positive for only EHD serotype 2 virus this year; no Indiana deer have tested positive for bluetongue virus. EHD was first positively identified in deer herds in 1955 in deer in New Jersey and Michigan, but reports of deer dying with symptoms similar to EHD have been reported as early as 1890. The viral disease EHD is carried by a biting midge of the genus Culicoides. After a bite from one of these insects transmits the virus to a deer, the virus spends a brief incubation period inside the deer. Shortly thereafter, the animal begins to show clinical signs of the disease. These signs can include loss of both appetite and the fear of humans, as well as excessive salivation, rapid pulse and respiration, and fatigue. After symptoms occur, the animal can die within 72 hours. Deer infected with EHD often seek water, since they are often fevered and dehydrated. Death usually occurs near water. “Not every deer will become infected with EHD, and not every deer that contracts EHD will die because of it” Stewart said. “It's natural for people to see a couple of dead deer around a stream or pond and think that every area is experiencing deer loss at the same level, but this disease is spotty.” "It will affect certain areas significantly and leave other areas nearby untouched. So, deer can be significantly reduced at the property level, but at the county level, we don’t see nearly that level of loss.” Stewart said that the current drought conditions are likely contributing to the increased number of dead deer that have been reported this year. “The drought has dried up quite a few shallow pools or streams where deer typically go for water, concentrating more of them in other watering areas, and in the process increasing the opportunity for interaction between the midge and the deer.” This, he said, often can attribute to the varying degree to which the virus is expressed across the landscape. Stewart said that some deer hunters will experience a disappointing season and notice a drastic difference between the numbers seen on their property last year and this year, but that level of drop-off is not likely to be reflected across a given county. For that reason, Stewart said, there are no plans to change the current deer hunting regulations or the bonus antlerless quotas this year. “To adjust the deer quotas for this disease this year would be a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "Instead, we’ll look at the harvest numbers after the season and make any adjustments that we deem necessary for the 2008 hunting season.” Deer afflicted with EHD are fit to eat. Stewart said the virus has never been proven to be transmitted to humans via consumption of an infected animal. EHD is not related to Chronic Wasting Disease, which has never been documented in the state of Indiana. .