EHD detected in White-tailed Deer in Alberta
Epizootic haemorrhagic disease (EHD) virus was identified in a white-tailed deer found dead in southern Alberta south of Foremost ~30km north of the U.S. border on September 16, 2013. At least 50 other deer and three antelope were found dead in the vicinity. Carcasses were too decomposed for extensive necropsy; however, tissues from one deer and one antelope were suitable for virus testing. EHD virus was present in the spleen of the whitetail. Further testing is currently being done to determine the strain of the virus.
EHD is most frequently transmitted by the biting midge, Culicoides variipennis which are less often found in more northern environments due to colder winters. In some cases, the disease has been shown to cause large scale outbreaks in wild deer populations. EHD was first diagnosed in the United States in 1955 and has since become an important disease of white-tailed deer throughout U.S.. It has also been previously reported in Alberta, although quite sporadically.
The full Wildlife Info Bulletin from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development is available here: EHD in Alberta 2013