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Press Releases

July 24, 2020
Two Horses Euthanized After Testing Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Contact: Michael Wallace, 804.786.1904

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) confirms that two horses stabled at different locations in Suffolk, VA, have been euthanized following positive test results for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Both horses were tested for EEE after presenting with acute neurological signs. The first horse tested positive for EEE on July 14 and the second horse tested positive on July 15.

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.

VDACS encourages horse owners to speak with their veterinarians about vaccinating their horses for West Nile Virus (WNV) and EEE. The mortality rate for WNV is 30 percent and up to 90 percent for EEE. Vaccinations are effective for six to 12 months.

For more information on how to control mosquitoes around horses, please visit vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-eastern-equine-encephalitis.shtml. Horse owners may also contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483 or consult their local veterinarian.


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