VDACS News Releases
August 10, 2018
It’s August, Time For Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Virginia Horses
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse this year. The horse, a Quarter Horse mare from Suffolk, entered the North Carolina State Veterinary school hospital in late July and subsequently died. The disease has an 80 to 90 percent mortality rate.
The hospital received notice yesterday of the EEE positive result. The horse was vaccinated incompletely with an initial vaccination but not the follow-up shot. For full effectiveness, horses must be vaccinated initially with a follow-up booster, and then again every six to 12 months.
Sometimes called sleeping sickness, EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to ten days for signs of the disease to appear.
For more information on how to control mosquitoes around horses, see vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-eastern-equine-encephalitis.shtml. Horse owners may also contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.
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