URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — After several deer were recently found dead in Urbana’s Meadowbrook Park, officials with the Urbana Park District believe they know what caused the deaths.

The Park District worked with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the University of Illinois’s Vet Med Wildlife Division to investigate the deaths. They suspect a drought-induced illness is to blame.

“Investigators believe the deer succumbed to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD),” said Derek Liebert, Superintendent of Planning and Operations at the park district. “IDNR already has had a positive test result for EHD in Vermillion County. EHD typically occurs in the late summer and early fall, especially during dry conditions, when small stagnant pools facilitate transmission between whitetail deer and the gnats/midges that carry the disease.”

Liebert added that EHD is not a danger to humans or pets; only to ruminant species like deer. The spread of EHD is reduced when rain eliminates stagnant water pools or when cold weather kills the midges.