Cattle Illness Found in Eastern Iowa Herds

In this July 18, 2012 photo, a cow feeds on hay near Rowley, Iowa. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Cows in 14 herds in eastern Iowa have come down with an illness spread by small flies and more often found in deer.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says the illness, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is a virus spread by biting midges.

EHD rarely affects cattle, but it has been found in the wild whitetail deer population southern and eastern Iowa. The disease can be fatal in deer but it does not usually kill cows. It can cause fever, ulcers in the mouth and gums, swollen tongue, and lameness.

There is no evidence it can infect humans.

Cattle farmers should use insect control and contact a veterinarian if they see signs of illness.

A hard freeze kills the midges and stops the spread of the virus.

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