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By Staff | Sep 27, 2012

DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said on Sept. 27 that more than 15 cattle herds, primarily in western Iowa, have had animals contract the Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease virus.

EHD is a virus that is spread by biting midges and primarily affects deer. A hard freeze kills midges and will stop the spread of the virus.

EHD can cause illness in cattle, including fever, ulcers in the mouth and gums, swollen tongue, excessive salivation, and lameness or stiffness when walking. Death loss is uncommon in cattle and there is no evidence that the EHD virus can infect humans.

EHD rarely affects cattle, but the wild whitetail deer population in southern and western areas of Iowa and surrounding states is seeing the disease at high levels.

EHD is common in whitetail and other deer in some years and can be fatal in these deer.

Cattle farmers are advised to use insect control as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of having cattle that become infected.

Farmers who notice signs of illness in cattle are encouraged to immediately contact their veterinarian.

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