Becky Fuda: (603) 271-2461
September 26, 2022
Concord, NH – A white-tailed deer that was found dead in Merrimack County has tested positive for epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). This case is the first time the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has documented the presence of EHD in the state. It has previously been documented in deer in nearby states including Vermont, New York, and Connecticut. EHD may cause localized die-offs of deer although it does not generally have a long-term impact on populations.
EHD is caused by a virus spread by biting midges (“no-see-ums”) and is more common in drought conditions, usually in late summer and early fall. With the onset of colder weather, a hard frost will kill the midges and end the outbreak.
Deer that are infected with EHD suffer from high fever, dehydration, and internal hemorrhage. They may exhibit frothing at the mouth; swelling of the head, neck, tongue, or eyelids; and may show a lack of fear of people or be reluctant to move. Deer that die of EHD are often found in or near water and usually within 48 hours of exhibiting symptoms. EHD is usually fatal although in states where it occurs regularly some deer can recover from the disease and develop immunity. There are no prevention or treatment options for EHD in wild deer populations.
EHD cannot infect humans and does not impact the safety of deer meat. However, deer that appear sick or are in poor condition should not be consumed because they could have secondary infections that may make the meat unfit for consumption. If you see sick or dead deer that display any of the symptoms described above, please contact the NH Fish and Game Wildlife Division at (603)-271-2461.
For more information about EHD, visit https://cwhl.vet.cornell.edu/disease/epizootic-hemorrhagic-disease#collapse.