A horse in southern Oswego County has died of the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus, the Oswego County Health Department reported today (Aug. 15).
The horse had been stabled near an area known to harbor the EEE virus in Oswego and Onondaga counties, and was probably exposed to EEE in late July, prior to the aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor – Three Mile Bay Wild Management Area.
“Even though the horse was exposed prior to aerial spraying, the positive EEE reminds us that the virus is present in our environment,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director. “The most effective way to prevent EEE is to protect against mosquito bites. It is very important that everyone use personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites, and that we continue to take steps to reduce mosquito breeding grounds near our homes.”
Horses are very susceptible to EEE if they are not vaccinated.
No documentation has been found to indicate that the afflicted horse was properly vaccinated against EEE.
“People need to be very careful about limiting their exposure to mosquitoes until later in the fall when there is a killing frost,” Huang added. “Earlier this week we received more positive test results from samples of mosquitoes from the Toad Harbor – Three Mile Bay area. We continue to monitor the situation.”
The County Health Department strongly advises Oswego County residents to:
Change water in bird baths and horse troughs at least twice a week to discourage mosquito breeding.
Use insect repellents according to label instructions.
Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt if you are outdoors for long periods of time, and when mosquitoes are most active, between dusk and dawn.
Replace or repair broken screens.
Eliminate standing water around the home.
For more information on EEE, visit http://www.oswegocounty.com/health/index.html, or call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.