Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease found in deer across South Dakota

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The proper name is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease also known more simply as E.H.D. or Blue Tongue.

It affects mostly Whitetail deer, and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks wants us to be aware of any unusual deer carcasses we may come across.

E.H.D. is spread by a little biting fly or midge, an insect that breeds on mudflats. So when the weather starts to get nicer out, we start to see more outbreaks spread throughout the state.

E.H.D. can occur in any given year in South Dakota, weather and habitat conditions will dictate the severity of the disease.

“We just need to know the severity of the outbreak; if we start seeing a lot of dead deer then we will start looking at offering a buy back on tags,” said Chris Dekker, Wildlife Conservation Officer for Game, Fish and Parks. “If it’s a below average number of E.H.D. cases, we don’t worry about it, but we have had years where there have been extreme outbreaks and we’ve done tag buy backs.”

It is important to know that E.H.D does not affect humans, and once the weather starts to get colder, the midges die off.

“If you are going to be harvesting a deer, once we have a good hard frost we are not gonna really see anymore E.H.D. outbreaks,” Dekker said. “E.H.D. and the midge, that’s a virus that can break down. We could be seeing an end to this as soon as we get a hard frost, but it’s not gonna affect you.”

Game, Fish and Parks is advising the public to keep an eye out for anything abnormal regarding deer or other wildlife.


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News