EHD Confirmed in Washington Cows


John Maday, Drovers 

October 3, 2019


The Washington State Department of Agriculture has confirmed diagnosis of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in four cows in eastern Washington. EHD primarily affects wild deer, but the vector-borne virus can cross over to cattle.


“Although EHD is seldom prevalent in cattle, we must show an abundance of caution and investigate each case due to the similarity of symptoms this disease has with the highly contagious and economically disastrous foot-and-mouth disease,” says Washington State Veterinarian Dr. Brian Joseph.


Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) belongs to the genus Orbivirus, family Reoviridae, according to a fact sheet from the Center for Food Safety and Public Health, Iowa State University (CFSPH). At least seven recognized serotypes of EHDV circulate among cervids worldwide.


EHD Outbreaks in cattle generally are milder than in deer, but can result in reduced productivity, lower milk yield and occasional deaths.


Several species of midges from the Culicoides genus serve as biological vectors for the EHD virus, and with no vaccines available in the United States, insect control remains the best preventive measure against the disease. Supportive care is the only treatment for infected cows.


According to the CFSPH, signs of EHD can include: