Something is killing whitetail deer across the northern Cumberland Plateau. It isn’t poachers or predators. Instead, it’s EHD — Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. Deer are being found dead on a daily basis, and some avid outdoorsmen say they have discovered dozens of dead deer. So what is it? We turned to Dustin Burke, a member of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s law enforcement staff who has experienced the deer disease first-hand. 

By Dustin Burke, special to the IH

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. This is a topic that comes up every year about this time. Why? Because this happens annually and, a lot like the flu in humans, some years can be worse than others. It doesn’t just affect young deer, old deer, weak deer or injured deer; it also affects perfectly healthy deer. It commonly gets confused with another virus that is closely related, blue tongue (BTV).

Let’s understand EHD. It’s a very common viral disease that affects white-tailed deer nationwide, but most commonly in the southeastern U.S. This virus cannot be transmitted from deer to deer, or from deer to any other animal. Just the same as Lyme’s Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are only contracted from ticks, EHD can only be contracted from small biting midges called “No-See-Ums.” If you have been outside long enough in the late summer or early fall, you have been bitten by a No-See-Um. You know you are getting eaten up by something but you can’t see it, hence the name.

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The complete story can be found in the Aug. 31, 2017 print edition of the Independent Herald.