Epizootic haemorrhagic disease: how to spot and report it

How to spot epizootic haemorrhagic disease, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.

Epizootic haemorrhagic disease affects:

  • deer and cattle
  • other ruminants (animals that chew cud, like goats and sheep)

It doesn’t affect humans.

There has never been a reported case of epizootic haemorrhagic disease in Great Britain.

Epizootic haemorrhagic disease is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Offices. Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot epizootic haemorrhagic disease

Epizootic haemorrhagic disease mainly affects deer.

Clinical signs are only likely to be seen when infection is acute (severe). In such cases the main clinical signs are:

  • fever
  • weakness
  • lack of appetite
  • more salivation than usual
  • bleeding
  • swollen red skin near hooves
  • swollen lining of the mouth

In other cases infection isn’t detectable.

How epizootic haemorrhagic disease is spread

The virus is usually spread when midges that carry it bite animals that can be infected.

Preventing and controlling epizootic haemorrhagic disease

You can help prevent epizootic haemorrhagic disease by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of epizootic haemorrhagic disease, APHA vets will investigate.

If the disease is confirmed the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.

Further information on prevention and control

Controls to prevent disease

What happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed

Legislation relating to epizootic haemorrhagic disease

Epizootic haemorrhagic disease is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996.

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 18 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Contact details for reporting a notifiable disease updated.

  2. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  3. First published.