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Posted on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Deer-killing EHD virus found in Washtenaw County

By Cindy Heflin

A virus that’s killing thousands of white-tailed deer in Michigan has made its way to Washtenaw County, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Lyndon Township resident Lynn Mida found two dead deer he believes were felled by epizootic hemorrhagic disease on his property and suspects a third also succumbed to the virus, the newspaper reported.


This map shows areas with confirmed and likely cases of EHD.

Michigan DNR

Across the state, 4,217 deer deaths had been linked to EHD as of last week, according to the Free Press. Thousands more are thought to be dead but not yet discovered.

The virus causes deer to bleed internally, stop eating and die quickly. The virus, spread by the bite of tiny flies, could affect the number of deer available for hunters in localized areas, though is unlikely to have much of an impact in the state as a whole, which has about 1.7 million deer, the newspaper reported.

The disease is not known to affect humans and is not spread from deer to deer, according to information from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. People do not catch the disease by eating the meat of infected deer.

Frost kills the flies that spread the disease, stopping the spread of the disease in the fall.

EHD has been present in the United States for more than 50 years, the DNR says and has had no long-term impact on the state’s deer herd.



Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

You are correct OldTimer. I am 51 years old, grew up in Northern Michigan and lived also in the UP for 11 years and I never hit a deer until I hit one in the CITY LIMITS of Novi on a sleety, slippery night when one jumped up out of the yard of a large subdivision. Thankfully, because of the weather, I was only going about 25 miles per hour and it was unavoidable. It still cost $1800 to fix my car though.


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

So if he is correct, you were careless?


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 5:15 a.m.

Michigan's deer herds (upper & lower peninsulas) are one of the great success stories of natural resource management. So of course a number of "Ecology Science Geniuses" want to eradicate the entire deer population. Our tourist industry doesn't agree - being one of the few remaining bright spots which enriches our economy. This deer-killing virus may well be a natural regulating factor - but using this outbreak to express a few pet peeves "hoping" for the extermination of a whole species is just plain stupid-stupid-stupid. The increasing number of gripe posts indicates an over-population of Gripe Queens who think anyone or anything that annoys them should be eliminated. Maybe what's really needed is development of a virus which will target only Gripe Queens and lead to their elimination. :-)


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Oldtimer3 you are seriously misinformed. Deer carry ticks. Ticks spread Lyme disease.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&biw=1280&bih=939 Deer kill people in car accidents. When we lived in PA, a woman was driving 50mph in a 50mph zone when a deer ran out and her car hit it. The deer went up over the bumper and through the windshield, killing her. Your argument that people cause the accidents when they swerve to avoid the deer is silly. If you don't swerve and hit the deer you in fact may when the deer comes over the bumper and through your windshield. In some places, deer over population is so bad that in addition to mass hunts, very tall fencing is put in. Valley Forge National Park, a historic national landmark, has so many deer per square mile that they have a very active deer management program. Browsing by deer (i.e. eating everything in sight) destroys rare species, decimates crops, and causes hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage each year. In addition, they destroy the natural habitat for other animals. With no natural predators in our area, the population of deer will continue to grow unabated, and the problems will get worse and worse.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Vehicle-Deer Crashes While the state's two million deer are most active in spring and fall, vehicle-deer crashes are a year-round problem. Each year, there are more than 60,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. About 80 percent of these crashes occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn. The most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or a fixed object, or when their vehicle rolls over. Here are some tips to avoid a crash: Stay aware, awake and sober. Vehicle-deer crashes occur year-round, but be especially alert in spring and fall Signs are placed at known deer crossing areas to alert you of the possible presence of deer. Deer are herd animals and frequently travel in single file. If you see one deer cross the road, chances are there are more waiting. Be alert for deer, especially at dawn and dusk. If you see one, slow down. Don't rely on gimmicks, flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn to deter deer. If a crash is unavoidable: Don't swerve! Brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop. Pull off the road, turn on your emergency flashers and be cautious of other traffic if you leave your vehicle. Report the crash to the nearest police agency and your insurance company. Remember to buckle up, as safety belts are motorists best defense in the event of a crash.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Deer don't spread lyme disease it is the insects that spread the disease.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

@A2cooments, Deer don't cause the accidents careless driving does on the most part.I have been driving for 50+ years and have only come close to hitting a deer once. If people wouldn't be in such a rush all the time many of these car deer wrecks could have been avoided. Cars hit other cars and other objects are you going to remove all the other obsticles off the roads?


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 10:36 a.m.

You are not correct. We have an overpopulation here. In many places, deer spread Lyme disease. Deer cause a huge amount of property damage and cause car accidents that have resulted in death.,1607,7-153-10370_12145_12205-56904--,00.html. If I could invite hunters to my yard, I would.

Dog Guy

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

I count coyote and epizootic hemorrhagic disease as friends limiting those white-tailed vermin. Frost kills the flies that spread the disease, so I am knitting tiny parkas for the flies.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

I got a newsletter from the DNR on this the other day. They say it is not transferable to humans So the meat is safe to eat. I do agree with one poster, this infectious disease is Mother Natures way of culling the herd.


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

True, but what the DNR meant by this was that if you go out and shoot the deer and it has this disease the meat is still safe to eat. I guess that can be misconstrued.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

If found before the deer actually dies. I wouldn't want to eat any that were found already cooled down . Unless extrenely cold weather.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

Let's not forget the number 1 infestation on the planet and the root cause of most every major problem on the planet today: human infestation. Can we spray for humans on the highways also?


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

I hereby invite the flies to my yard. Party!


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

And this is a problem how?....Sounds to me like we should be looking at a way to introduce this to the natural wild and let the 1.7 million deer naturally die out...


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

You would rather the deer suffer from disease and die and go to waste. There is something wrong with your thinking to want anything to suffer from disease. I am wondering if other Cervids are likely to get this virus?


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

There is an overabundance of deer in the state. This is Mother Nature's way of telling us that there are too many white tailed deer. Let's allow more deer hunting so at least the deer can be eaten, rather than just wasted. This is from a non hunter.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

And what does the over abundance of humans tell you?


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 4:05 a.m.

Mmmmmm, dear.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

We need to save these deer for the hunters! PS Every dead deer is a deer that won't be wandering onto the freeway, removing yet another danger to Michigan motorists.