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September 19, 2018

EEE Found in Horse in Oswego County


From the State Department of Agriculture and Markets

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the State’s first confirmed equine case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE, this year. The affected horse was a two-year old gelding kept in Oswego County. EEE is a rare viral disease of horses and humans that is spread by infected mosquitoes. To date, there have been no reported or confirmed human cases of EEE in 2010.

“New York’s abundant water sources and humid climate unfortunately make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and the EEE virus,” Commissioner Hooker said. “Therefore, we highly encourage horse owners to protect their animals and consider vaccinating for EEE. The EEE vaccine has proven to drastically reduce the incidence of the virus in horses and can be easily administered by a private veterinarian.”

The infected horse was a two-year old gelding that was purchased at a New York auction earlier this year. The young horse had an unknown vaccination history at the time of purchase and was not vaccinated after purchase. Last week, the gelding was showing typical signs of EEE, including loss of appetite, circling and leaning against the stall, and after examination by a private veterinarian, was euthanized. Brain samples were sent to the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory and tested positive for EEE. To date, the other horses on the same premises are not showing any signs of EEE and have since been vaccinated.

EEE is found mainly along the East Coast, affects the central nervous system of horses, and usually results in death in horses. Symptoms in equines include staggering, circling, depression, loss of appetite and sometimes fever and blindness. Humans cannot become infected by handling an infected horse, nor can a horse acquire the virus from another infected horse; however, the presence of an infected horse in the area indicates that mosquitoes carrying EEE are present and infected mosquitoes pose a threat to both humans and horses.

While there is no treatment, or cure for this disease, vaccines are available and found to be effective in protecting horses from this virus. The vaccines are effective for six to twelve months, so horses should be vaccinated at least annually. In an area where the disease occurs frequently, such as Oswego County, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months. For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus.

Other methods of preventing EEE in horses and humans is to control mosquito populations, which can be done by destroying standing water, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn. Horse owners and caretakers are also advised to wear light colored clothing, long sleeves and pants when tending horse in areas where mosquitoes may be present.

For more information on how to protect your horse from EEE, please visit http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/AI/equine/equine.html. For information about humans and EEE, visit: http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/eastern_equine_encephalitis/fact_sheet.htm

One Response “EEE Found in Horse in Oswego County”

  1. jim
    August 30, 2010 at 10:14 am

    You notice they are all concerned about protecting and vaccinating the horse–says nothing about humans–well guess these days the horse’s come before people anyways.Remember when I was a kid they sprayed toad harbor swamp every year around the middle of June to the middle of July–made it great for picking berries then, never had to worry about the damn deer flies after the spraying and people spent alot ,more time outside in the evenings when you didn’t have the mosquitos eating you up.
    And then there was a hell of alot more birds and a bigger variety then now.

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