MACEDONIA, Iowa (KPTM)- A little bug is causing some big problems for deer and cattle.
A virus that infects deer and cattle is at its worst in 30 years.
It's scientific name, "Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease," or more commonly known as EHD.
Bruce Trindle, with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, said the disease is at an all time high.. "It's a significant, a significant number of deer mortalities being reported," said Trindle.
So far, 2,200 dear in Nebraska and 750 in Iowa have been reported infected.
Trindle said that's the largest amount he's seen since 1976.
The disease can only be spread animal to animal through a gnat called a ‘Biting Midge.' The disease kills deer, and is starting to spread to cattle.
The disease won't kill cattle, but can cause fever, swollen eyes, and mouth sores. "When they're sick, they're not gaining weight," said cattle rancher, Bruce Bentley. "That's just extra days on feed for us, and with the high price of grain, we don't want that."
Bentley has been farming in Iowa for years. "Ever since I could carry a 5 gallon bucket."
He has hundreds of cattle. He has to worry about feed, the weather, and now EHD. "We just happened to find a dead deer in one of the lots we emptied," said Bentley.
Bentley said, in total, he and his neighbors have seen five dead deer this past week. "I immediately was a little suspect, because if they're gonna die, they go out and die in their own habitat." Their habitat is not an empty feedlot, said Bentley.
Bentley said, he's never seen such an outbreak of EHD, but he also had never seen such a drought. "Rather hot and dry. We've spent a lot of time running water on cattle, trying to keep them cool, and watching the corn die."
Whether its deer or cattle, the little bug, is proving to have quite a big bite.