Game and Fish tracking outbreak of EHD in deer, pronghorn

WYOMING — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is tracking an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a virus that primarily impacts white-tailed deer and pronghorn.

Multiple samples from dead deer and pronghorn confirmed the outbreak in the Arvada area as well as areas near Douglas, Laramie and Cheyenne. The presence of the disease is not uncommon in times of drought and hot weather, especially where wildlife congregate around small water holes where the disease-carrying biting midge lives.

Wyoming’s wildlife managers see EHD in big game every year. However, some years have greater impacts than others, and 2021 could be one of them.

“This year seems worse, but we are just at the beginning of the outbreak,” said Hank Edwards, Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor. “Monitoring will be important to chart the impacts.”

Game and Fish is tracking the spread of the disease online and has a map of identified locations. The map locations represent lab-confirmed distribution, but not the intensity of the disease. Once an area is documented, the lab won’t continue to sample there.

EHD is not spread by animal-to-animal contact; rather, transmission occurs when a host-animal with the virus is bitten by a midge.

“The midge collects a ‘blood meal,’ like a mosquito,” Edwards said. “When the midge bites another animal, the virus spreads.”

EHD typically occurs in the fall, especially in dry conditions coupled with drought, where there tend to be more outbreaks. As water holes shrink, animals become more concentrated, so it is easy for midges to transmit the disease.

To read more about EHD click here. 

About The Author

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter who recently made Jackson home. Born and raised in Connecticut, she enjoys reading non-fiction, skiing, hiking, and playing piano in her downtime. She is most passionate about delivering and pursuing stories that directly impact the lives of individuals in the community. Her favorite aspect about living in Jackson is the genuine admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.

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