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Press Releases

August 27, 2018
Second Virginia horse tests positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the second case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse this year. The horse, an American Quarter Horse stabled in Chesapeake, was euthanized due to its illness, and was necropsied at the NCDACS’ Rollins VDL in Raleigh on August 20. Later lab results confirmed EEE. The disease has an 80 to 90 percent mortality rate.

The horse had an incomplete vaccination history. 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, click here. Horse owners may also contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.


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