Officials report new disease in MN deer after 'quick and suspicious' deaths

- The Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirmed the first local cases of a deadly disease in a small herd of deer.

According the board, six of seven animals in a small herd of captive white-tailed deer died of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in Goodhue County earlier this month. The remaining buck currently appears healthy and is not showing signs of the disease.

Officials say this is the first detection of EHD in a Minnesota deer, but it is widespread across North America.

The disease was last detected in Minnesota cattle in 2012 and 2013.

Dr. Mackenzie Reberg, Board of Animal Health Senior Veterinarian, said the virus is transmitted between deer by biting gnats, which are most active in the fall.

“These bugs can’t travel far on their own and we’re concerned by this detection because the herd owner hasn’t moved deer onto the property for several years,” Dr. Reberg said in a release.

EHD affects members of the deer family, and there are no known health risks to people.

Most infected deer die within 36 hours of clinical signs, which can include: fever, anorexia, lethargy, stiffness, respiratory distress, oral ulcers, and severe swelling of the head and neck. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available in the U.S.

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