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Posted on 11-17-2016

New EEE Case Confirmed in Marion County

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported Nov. 14 that Florida animal health officials have confirmed a new case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

“On Nov. 10, a new EEE case was confirmed in Marion County, Florida,” an EDCC statement said. “The 15-year-old Paint mare was vaccinated in years prior but had not been vaccinated recently and had no recent travel history. Clinical signs began on Oct. 28 and the mare is currently recovering.”

This is Marion County’s second EEE case and Florida’s 23rd case for 2016.

A viral disease, EEE affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs of EEE include moderate to high fever, depression, lack of appetite, cranial nerve deficits (facial paralysis, tongue weakness, difficulty swallowing), behavioral changes (aggression, self-mutilation, or drowsiness), gait abnormalities, or severe central nervous system signs, such as head-pressing, circling, blindness, and seizures. The course of EEE can be swift, with death occurring two to three days after onset of clinical signs despite intensive care. Horses that survive might have long-lasting impairments and neurologic problems.

Swarm of Mosquitoes

A viral disease, EEE affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes.

Horse owners should also consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate disease prevention plan for their horses. Vaccines have proven to be a very effective prevention tool. Horses that have been vaccinated in past years will need an annual booster shot. However, if an owner did not vaccinate their animal in previous years, the horse will need the two-shot vaccination series within a three- to six-week period.

In addition to vaccinations, horse owners also need to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas. Recommendations include removing stagnant water sources, keeping animals inside during the bugs’ feeding times, which are typically early in the morning and evening, and using mosquito repellents.

Larson, Erica. “New Equine EEE Case Confirmed in Marion County.” The Horse. 2016.

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