Deadly disease found in Ontario deer
A deadly disease found in deer has been found in the southern part of the province.
The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) said on Wednesday, Sept. 27 that two white-tailed deer from London, Ont. had systemic bleeding at autopsy consistent with epizootic haemorrhagic disease (EDH), which is highly fatal.
“To our knowledge, these are the first cases of this disease diagnosed in Ontario,” a post on the CWHC said.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters also issued an alert about the disease diagnosis on their website.
A representative from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said they are only aware of the two cases found in London and aren’t aware of any deer carrying the disease further north.
There are two closely related viruses – EHD virus and bluetongue virus – that may cause haemorrhagic disease in deer, and they are spread by biting midges that are also known as “no-seeums.”
The CWHC said deer infected with the virus can develop fever, depression and breathing problems before dying. Infected deer often seek out water to relieve fever and thirst, which is why dying or dead deer can be found in water bodies.
The disease is common in southern U.S. states, but because EHD is new to Ontario, deer populations lack herd immunity, which may lead to higher numbers of infected deer and greater rates of transmission. However, biting midges are often killed off after the first frost of the season.
People who see a sick or dead deer can report it to the CWHC at 866-673-4781 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the MNR at 1-800-667-1940 or email@example.com.
Two cases of a highly fatal disease in deer has been detected in London, Ont. The Ministry of Natural Resources says they aren't aware of any cases further north.