The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has received reports of 432 suspected cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in white-tailed deer so far in 2018.
EHD is a viral disease of white-tailed deer that can cause localized die-offs when conditions are favorable for transmission. Infected animals develop a high fever, and dead animals often are found near water sources.
The virus is transmitted between deer by a midge that hatches from muddy areas along lakes/ponds and streams/rivers.
EHD appears to be at low to moderate levels in counties on or near the Illinois River, extending from Schuyler County to the southwest through Bureau County to the northeast. Peoria County has had the worst of it with 77 cases, followed closely by Fulton County with 71 cases.
Scattered suspected cases of EHD have also been reported across central and southern Illinois, with slightly higher levels reported in the southeastern Illinois counties of Lawrence (35 cases), Crawford (15), Jasper (13 cases), and Richland (10).
The worst year for EHD in Illinois was 2012, when 2,968 cases were reported from 87 counties. In 2013, the IDNR received reports of 1,224 cases from 64 counties. EHD was virtually absent in 2014 and at low levels in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
The IDNR continues to ask landowners, hunters, and concerned citizens to be on the lookout for dead or dying deer, and to report suspected EHD cases to their local IDNR field office, or to the Wildlife Disease and Invasive Species Program (WDIS). IDNR is especially interested in sick or recently dead animals as staff may attempt to collect tissue samples in order to confirm the presence of the EHD virus.
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