Deadly disease found in Goodhue County deer

It kills most animals within 36 hours of showing symptoms.

Posted: Oct. 17, 2018 12:40 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Some deer in Goodhue County have tested positive for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease.

“This virus is transmitted between deer by biting midges, or gnats, which are most active in the fall before they are killed by the first frost of the season,” said Board of Animal Health Senior Veterinarian, Dr. Mackenzie Reberg. “These bugs can’t travel far on their own and we’re concerned by this detection because the herd owner hasn’t moved deer onto the property for several years.”

Six of seven in a small herd of captive white-tailed deer in Goodhue County died of the disease earlier this month. Officials say it is widespread across North America but this is the first time it’s been found in Minnesota deer. Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease was detected in Minnesota cattle in 2012 and 2013.

The disease can cause fever, anorexia, lethargy, stiffness, respiratory distress, oral ulcers, and severe swelling of the head and neck. Most animals die within 36 hours of showing symptoms. The Minnesota Board of Animal health says there is no treatment or vaccine available in the U.S.

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