On October 13, 2021

Fish & Wildlife confirms Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in Rutland County deer

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept. has confirmed the presence of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in Rutland County deer. EHD is a common viral disease of deer in North America but had never previously been confirmed in Vermont.

Current and suspected cases in Vermont have been localized in Castleton and West Haven, although they are likely related to more widespread outbreaks occurring in New York. The majority of Rutland County and the rest of Vermont appear not to have been affected by EHD.

Hunters may consider exploring new areas if their favorite hunting spot has been affected by EHD.

EHD outbreaks can temporarily lower deer numbers in a local area, but they do not have a significant long-term impact on regional deer abundance.

EHD virus is transmitted by biting midges, sometimes called no-see-ums. The disease is not spread from deer to deer and humans cannot be infected by deer or bites from midges. The department notes that deer harvested in these areas are safe to eat.

EHD occurs regularly in the southern states, so some southern deer have developed immunity. In the Northeast, EHD outbreaks occur sporadically, and deer have no immunity to this virus. Consequently, most EHD-infected deer in the northeast are expected to die. The first hard frosts kill the midges that transmit the disease, ending the outbreak.

Deer that contract EHD usually die within 48 hours of showing clinical signs. Outbreaks are most common in the late summer and early fall when midges are abundant. Signs of EHD include fever, hemorrhage in the mouth or organs, and swelling of the head, neck, tongue, and lips. A deer infected with EHD may appear dehydrated and weak. Infected deer often seek out water sources and many succumb near water. Several sick or dead deer may be found in a small area, particularly around water. There is no treatment or means to prevent EHD. Dead deer do not serve as a source of infection for other animals.

Sightings of sick or dead deer should be reported to the Fish & Wildlife Dept. by contacting your local state police dispatcher who will notify the nearest game warden. The department will collect samples from deer for testing and track deer reports to monitor the extent of the outbreak and determine impacts on the deer population.

For more information on EHD, see the fact sheet from the Wildlife Futures Program or visit Cornell University’s Wildlife Health Lab website.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Vermont Legislature adjourns after a contentious 2024 session

May 15, 2024
Session was shaped by debates over property taxes, housing shortages, flood recovery and public safety By Sarah Mearhoff and Shaun Robinson/VTDigger After a tumultuous day of dealmaking on housing, land use and property tax measures, the Vermont Legislature adjourned its 2024 session in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m.…

New data shows first decrease in Vermont opioid deaths since 2019

May 15, 2024
Overdose deaths in Vermont have decreased for the first time since 2019. According to the Dept. of Health’s newly released Annual Fatal Overdose Report, opioid-related overdoses resulted in the death of 231 Vermonters in 2023, a 5% drop from 2022 when 244 Vermonters died. The overdose report includes data on Vermonters who died of any drug…

Safe bet

May 15, 2024
After a week of long days and late nights, the regular session of the 2024 Vermont Legislature adjourned early Saturday morning just after 2 a.m. My best guess in the annual adjournment pool was 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, which turned out to be way too optimistic. When the Legislature finishes its work for the session,…

A lot accomplished this Legislative session

May 15, 2024
Vermont’s 2023-24 Legislative Biennium ended in the wee hours of Saturday morning May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m. and the House about 2 a.m. This has been a hard session. It was begun in the wake of a natural disaster, with a state recovering from terrible flooding. Despite these challenges we managed…