Wednesday, September 19, 2012

State confirms that the EDH virus is spreading

Perhaps not surprisingly the state has taken note of the spread of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a virus that commonly affects white-tailed deer.

Only this time EDH was discovered in a Portage County cattle herd, officials with Ohio Department of Agriculture have confirmed.

That being said, the state agricultural department stresses that EHD poses no threat to human health or to the safety of meat consumption.

Making the confirmation was The department’s state-of-the-art  Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Reynoldsburg.

Agency officials note that EDH occurs annually in deer herds in some parts of North America but is less common in cattle.

The disease in cattle may cause fever, lameness, and sore mouths. Most cattle recover within a few days. In deer, however, EHD is typically fatal.

Both cattle and deer contract EHD from gnats or biting flies. The virus cannot be spread from animal to animal or from animal to humans.

The biting insects contract the virus from infected deer or cattle. The winged gnats then pass the disease on to surrounding wild animal or livestock populations.

As has been noted here before, this summer’s drought has forced animals and insects to common watering spots, increasing the spread of EHD.

Officials with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and state animal health officials have confirmed localized outbreaks of EHD in these Ohio counties: Geauga, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Guernsey, Holmes, Paulding, Portage, Preble, Ross, and Summit.

Once freezing temperatures arrive and kills off the gnats the viral disease disappears.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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