A costly disease affecting deer and cattle has already hit two Wisconsin herds, leading the state veterinarian to encourage insect control to reduce livestock health threats.

Dr. Paul McGraw, State Veterinarian, says insect control can eliminate biting midges and black flies, the two common carriers of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).

Two cases of EHD were confirmed recently, prompting the recommendation.

“We already have reports of EHD in Wisconsin cattle, and until we have a hard freeze to kill the midges and flies, the virus will continue to be a threat to our cattle population,” said Dr. McGraw.

Signs of the disease include fever, ulcers in the mouth and gums, swollen tongue, excessive salivation, and lameness or stiffness when walking. Death loss is uncommon in cattle. 

“The symptoms of EHD are similar to those of Foot and Mouth Disease.  So, farmers who notice signs of illness in cattle are encouraged to immediately contact their veterinarian to rule out a possible foreign animal disease,” McGraw said.

EHD is rare and more common in southern states, but thrives in conditions supportive of insect growth. There is no evidence showing the disease is a threat to human health, or is transmitted between animals.

This is the first year that cases of EHD in cattle have been reported in Wisconsin.