According to State Farm, Iowa has the privileged distinction of being second in the nation for collisions between deer and vehicles – one even “attacked” Senator Grassley’s car recently. While our deer herd isn’t the largest in the nation, that number has gotten smaller – since July, thousands of deer have died.
DNR Deer biologist Tom Litchfield says he’s received nearly three thousand reports of dead deer with the outward symptoms of blue tongue virus. But while the two diseases are outwardly similar, the real problem, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, is starkly different under a microscope, and he says it’s made a significant dent in the herd size – a mere fraction of the total deaths have been reported, up to as much as 15% of Iowa’s deer herd.
Cattle, being cloven-hooved ruminants just as deer are, can also contract EHD, however they have a natural resistance to it. Livestock producers can use insect repellent pre-emptively and should call a veterenarian if signs do appear, but death is very rare.
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease.does not infect humans.