For Immediate Release

The Department of Natural Resources today announced a tentative diagnosis of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), an often fatal viral disease found in wild ruminants, for the more than 50 deer that have died off in an area around the Clinton River in Oakland and Macomb counties.

The disease is characterized by extensive hemorrhages and is transmitted by a biting fly or midge. White-tailed deer develop signs of the illness about seven days after exposure. Deer initially lose their appetite and fear of man, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively, develop a rapid pulse and respiration rate, become unconscious, and then die. Due to a high fever, the deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water.

The virus can be transmitted to other wild ruminants, such as elk and moose; however, there is no evidence that humans can contract the virus.

There is no known effective treatment or control of EHD. The disease was first documented in Michigan‘s white-tailed deer in 1955. Additional die-offs attributed to EHD occurred in 1974, and again in 2006 in Allegan County. The Allegan County die-off involved 50 to 75 animals.

Property owners who discover dead deer on their land should bury them at a sufficient depth so that body parts are not showing. Carcasses also can be disposed of at landfills that accept household solid waste.

For more information on EHD, please see the Michigan Emerging Diseases Web site at

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources for current and future generations.