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State ag officials warn of possible spread of deer disease into cow herds


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - State ag and DNR officials are warning of a possible spread of a deer disease into the cattle population.

EHD is a virus that is spread by biting midges and blackflies that primarily affects deer, but can also infect cattle and other ruminants. Department of Trade, Consumer Protection and Agriculture spokeswoman Raechelle Cline says that it's not a common transmission. "But we have seen the disease make the jump to cows as close as Iowa."

Cline says the disease may be harder to spread in the central and northern parts of the state, owing to recent freezes that kill off the bugs that transmit the disease. But she says that farmers should keep an eye out for the symptoms of EHD.

The wild whitetail deer population is experiencing the disease at high levels throughout the Midwest. Eight Wisconsin counties have confirmed cases of the disease, which can kill an infected deer within seven days.

For more information about EHD, visit aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/disease_status.htm.