The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) is pleased to report that hemorrhagic disease (HD), including EHD and bluetongue virus, seems to have taken a summer vacation in 2014, and the danger of a serious outbreak this year has now passed. Transmitted by biting gnats, the disease usually hits deer hardest in late summer and early fall, especially in unusually hot, dry years.
“A small number of reports are trickling in from scattered states, but we’re not seeing any nationwide trends or large outbreaks this year,” said Dr. David Stallknecht with the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) at the University of Georgia. “This year is definitely below average so far.”
David said one or two positive cases had come in from each of a handful of states scattered in the South and North, including Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New Jersey.
“We won’t see a big outbreak at this point. I expect a few cases to keep trickling in, but we’ve never had a large outbreak pop up this late in the year,” he said.
This is great news following a string of serious outbreaks over the past decade, with 2007 and 2012 seeing the two worst outbreaks of all time. In 2012, HD was confirmed in nearly 30 states and killed tens of thousands of deer. See QDMA’s 2014 Whitetail Report for more on the impacts of the 2012 HD outbreak.
David said he believes a cold winter likely reduced populations of the midges that transmit the virus.
“We had an unusually cold winter, and then we had good rains in most regions up until the last part of summer,” he said. “I suspect these helped.”
Tanner Tedeschi, Communications Manager
Image courtesy Quality Deer Management Association