SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX/IRN) – Something is wiping out deer by the hundreds in Illinois for the second straight year, and experts say they know exactly what it is.

It’s epizootic hemorrhaging disease (EHD).

“In a wild situation, there’s no way to really manage for this disease,” says Illinois Department of Natural Resources deer program manager Paul Shelton. “What we try to do is get as many reports as possible so that we can document where it is and how widespread it is … if possibly there may have been some impacts that are large enough that we have to try to remediate them.”

The illness, spread by the bite of a certain kind of gnat, has claimed more than 400 deer so far this year, more than 2,000 last year. Shelton says the areas affected this year are different from last.

There’s no danger to humans, either from the gnat bite, from contact with an infected animal, or from eating the meat from an infected animal.

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