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Farmers Protect Cattle from Virus Spreading Through Eastern Iowa
TIFFIN (CBS 2/ FOX 28)--Checking his cattle one by one, farmer Steve Swenka doesn't leave anything to chance.
"We check all the cows once a day," he said. "You look for droopy ears, hanging their heads, just not moving freely like the rest of the herd."
He owns nearly 200 head of cattle which are his main source of income.
He stepped up his daily inspections when he got word about a disease infecting cattle through eastern Iowa.
"When you hear something like this you just want to take extra time to walk through the herd, make sure you see every cow instead of most of the cows," Swenka said.
So far, 14 cattle herds have been infected by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, also known as EHD.
"They get some severe oral lesions, said Dr. David Schmitt, state veterinarian for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
"They'll be running a fever, Schmitt said. It's hard for them to take in nourishment."
Experts say the disease comes from biting midges, which are fly-like insects, and mainly affects deer.
Although EHD isn't contagious, it can be deadly if untreated.
To keep cattle disease-free, Schmitt suggests farmers use insect control and call a veterinarian if their cattle show any signs of infection.
Steps farmers like Steve already have under control.
"You just have to try to stay on top of it," Swenka said.
Experts say it could take anywhere from seven to ten days for an infected animal to recover.