State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today addressed the growing concern over an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in deer herds throughout the state. Jefferson County is among the hardest hit by the disease.

“Upon hearing from a constituent about large numbers of dead deer in a concentrated area, I spoke with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Agriculture to gather facts about what is being done to address the outbreak.” said Cera. “While EHD is not a threat to humans, Ohioans need to be made aware of the circumstances that have resulted in mass fatalities to our deer population. Hunters and nature enthusiasts alike rely upon a healthy deer population to enjoy the wildlife and recreational opportunities we’re fond of in eastern Ohio.”

EHD is spread through the bites of small gnats, with an incubation period of five to ten days. It has a high fatality rate and typically kills an infected deer within 36 hours after it begins to show symptoms. Symptoms include swelling of the head, neck, eyelids and tongue, as well as fever, lethargy and disorientation. A sick deer will often seek out water to relieve its fever, resulting in clusters of dead deer around bodies of water.

There are currently no treatment options or vaccinations available for deer infected with EHD. The outbreak will taper off as temperatures drop low enough to kill the gnats which transmit the disease. Sick or dead wild animals should never be touched or handled. The Wildlife Division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources asks anyone who encounters such an animal to call 1-800-WILDLIFE.

“As co-chair of the Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, concerns related to the sporting industry are always a priority.” said Cera. “Hunting is an integral part of Ohio’s history, culture and economy. As public servants, it’s our responsibility to foster an environment in which the sporting industry can continue to thrive.”

It is unclear what the impact will be on the deer herd in Jefferson County because of the outbreak of EHD this year. ODNR will wait until the season ends to calculate and study the deer numbers to make a final determination.

More information on EHD can be found here:


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