Tag Archives: EEE

State Sees First Equine EEE Cases of the Year

RALEIGH – Two Quarter horses were euthanized this month after contracting Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis, a mosquito-borne disease that is preventable in equine by vaccination.

The unvaccinated horses, one a 2-year-old Robeson County mare and the other a 7-year-old stallion from Bladen County, exhibited signs of generalized weakness, stumbling, depression and inability to stand or eat.

They are the first reported cases of EEE in horses this year. Last week, New Hanover County officials reported that EEE was found in a sentinel chicken flock.

“If your horses exhibit any symptoms of EEE, contact your veterinarian immediately,” said State Veterinarian David Marshall. “Several serious contagious diseases, such as Equine Herpes Virus and rabies, have similar symptoms and should be ruled out.”

Continue reading State Sees First Equine EEE Cases of the Year

Year’s First Equine Case of EEE Confirmed in Halifax County

RALEIGH – A 4-year-old horse in Halifax County was recently euthanized after contracting Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis, a mosquito-borne disease that is preventable in equine by yearly vaccination. It is the first reported case of EEE in horses this year.

“The number of reported EEE cases fluctuates each year,” said State Veterinarian David Marshall. “Late summer to early fall is peak mosquito season in North Carolina, and this is right on schedule for us to start seeing cases.”

North Carolina had 6 reported EEE cases in 2010, 23 in 2009 and 13 in 2008. It is estimated that for every reported case, four or more cases go unreported. There was one case last year of West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne disease that affects equine.

The EEE and WNV vaccinations initially require two shots, 30 days apart, for horses, mules and donkeys that have no prior vaccination history. Neither vaccination fully protects the animal until several weeks after the second shot, so it is best to vaccinate as early in the mosquito season as possible. Marshall recommends that horse owners talk to their veterinarians to determine the best time to start the vaccination process. He also recommends a booster shot of each vaccine be given every six months in North Carolina because of the extended mosquito season.

Symptoms of EEE include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death.

Symptoms of WNV in horses can include loss of appetite and depression, fever, weakness or paralysis of hind limbs, convulsions, impaired vision or hyperexcitability.

People, horses and birds can become infected from a bite by a mosquito carrying the diseases, but there is no evidence that horses can transmit the virus to other horses, birds or people through direct contact.

Dr. Tom Ray, director
NCDA&CS Animal Health Program – Livestock
(919) 733-7601

Vaccinations Urged for Horses as EEE Cases Rise

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is urging horse owners to get their animals vaccinated following an upsurge in the number of Eastern Equine Encephalitis cases.  Sentinel chickens that serve as an early warning of the existence of the disease are also being diagnosed with EEE in areas of the state that are not usually affected.

So far this year there have been 16 confirmed cases of EEE in horses.  While that is not an unusually high number, seven of the cases were reported on Wednesday, June 23, from counties scattered throughout the state.

“Most of the cases have been in the central and north central part of the state which is normal,” Bronson said.  “But we are also seeing increased EEE and West Nile Virus activity in sentinel chickens in the southern part of the state, including Martin County which has not had EEE detected in 30 years.  In addition, there has been a confirmed case of EEE in a horse in both Collier and Okeechobee counties.  So I want to remind horse owners of the importance of getting their animals vaccinated.”

EEE is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes.  Signs of the virus include fever, listlessness, stumbling, circling, coma and usually death.  The disease is fatal in horses in 90 percent of the cases.

Bronson says the majority of cases of EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases can be prevented through proper vaccinations.  Horse owners are urged to check with their veterinarian to make sure their animals have received current vaccinations and booster shots against EEE and West Nile Virus, and that these shots are kept up to date.

Liz Compton
(850) 488-3022