Virus from midges has been causing deer deaths in Minnesota

Two deaths have been confirmed, and several more are suspected.
Publish date:

A midge-borne virus has resulted in the deaths of several deer in central Minnesota, the DNR has revealed.

The DNR says that it has confirmed the first two cases epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in wild white-tailed deer in Stearns County.

The viral disease is spread by the midge, a biting insect, and is suspected of causing the deaths of several deer in the St. Stephen area.

Although only two deer were confirmed to have died from the virus, the other deer found were "too decomposed to test," though the outbreak right now is limited to Stearns County.

"All of our neighboring states have been dealing with EHD for years," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. "So it was always a question of when it would show up in Minnesota."

Cornicelli notes that EHD is naturally occurring and seasonal, so the DNR expects this outbreak to be shortened because the soon-to-appear frost should kill the virus and the midges carrying it.

The disease incubates for 5-10 days, with deer typically dying within 36 hours of showing symptoms.

Two other cases of EHD were confirmed in captive deer in Houston County on Sept. 5, but those cases are unrelated to Stearns County.

The disease first appeared in captive deer in Minnesota last October, when it was confirmed in six deer at a Goodhue County farm.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Neighboring states including Wisconsin and Iowa, as well as several other Midwestern states, report EHD deaths every year, and it can result in hundreds of deaths in local populations, albeit doesn't tend to impact the overall deer population.

It comes as Minnesota continues to mitigate the impact of another, more widepsread deer virus, Chronic Wasting Disease, which has been found in several counties and has resulted in changes to hunting guidelines.

EHD-infected deer tend to be found near water sources, as it causes a fever that drives them to seek water, but they ultimately die from "internal lesions and hemorrhages."

Next Up

Jaden McDaniels

Wolves lose to Magic on Cole Anthony's buzzer-beater

The Wolves blew a 20-point lead as the Magic defeated the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

J.A. Happ

Twins sign veteran J.A. Happ to add to the rotation

The left-hander will get a one-year, $8 million deal from the Twins.

storm the capitol rally st. paul minnesota state capitol

BCA finds 'no criminal wrongdoing' among those at 'Storm the Capitol' rally

Inflammatory comments were made by speakers, but no charges will be brought.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 12.27.04 PM

Man's vehicles crushed by hit-and-run driver weren't fully insured

The goal is to raise $25,000 to help the south Minneapolis resident.

Joe Biden

Key points from Joe Biden's first speech as POTUS

The 46th president called for unity at a time America is facing huge challenges.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 20

The 111 ICU patients is the fewest in Minnesota since there were 109 COVID patients in intensive care on Oct. 1.


Here's what Amy Klobuchar said at Joe Biden's inauguration

The Minnesota senator was one of the leader organizers of the inauguration.

covid-19, vaccine

All of this week's COVID vaccine pilot program appointments are filled

Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans who are 65 and older registered for appointments between noon Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

Osterholm affidavit ahead of George Floyd trial warns of COVID worsening in March

Prosecutors want to delay the Chauvin trial due to a public health threat.


white-tailed deer

Fatal midge-borne deer virus confirmed in a second MN county

It's suspected to be behind several more deer deaths.

white-tailed deer

Two special deer hunts will be held in Minnesota to combat CWD

The hunts will be held the two weekends after Christmas.

White tail deer

Minnesota DNR reveals changes ahead of 2020 deer hunting season

Changes have been made to reflect COVID-19 and the ongoing threat of CWD in deer.

White tail deer

DNR releases 2019 deer hunting regulations: Here's what's new

Efforts are being taken to minimize chronic wasting disease.

White tail deer

Governor proposes $4.5M to stop spread of chronic wasting disease

He also wants to dedicate $1.1 million to fighting the disease annual henceforth.

White tail deer

DNR to allow some landowners to hunt deer in Crow Wing County

It's part of the battle to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

2 more deer hunts will be held in Minnesota this month

It's part of the battle against chronic wasting disease.