Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), or bluetongue virus, is thought to be the cause of death of 15 deer in that northeastern Nebraska county.
Todd Nordeen, NGPC Big Game Disease and Research Program manager, says it is serious and can dramatically reduce a population of deer.
“And it has, you know we’ve seen it over the years, it’s generally a long time in between before we see a serious impact, generally 15, 20, 30 years apart, but the disease is there every year and there’s no cure for it,” Nordeen tells Nebraska Radio Network.
EHD peaked in 2012 since first appearing in the state in the 1970s.
“In 2012, we actually saw a great deal of deer succumb to this disease. In some places, it was over 50 percent mortality,” Nordeen says.
A biting insect spreads the disease, but Nordeen says the bug dies off after the first frost.
“The symptoms we see in sick deer are a lot of times they’re close to water due to running a fever, they lose their fear of humans, so you can actually get fairly close to them at times, and then over a short period of time, they can actually succumb to it,” he says.
Nordeen says the disease only affects deer and poses no risk to people.