2 horses in Suffolk euthanized after testing positive for EEE


FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City. State and federal health officials are reporting a higher than usual number of deaths and illnesses from a rare, mosquito-borne virus this year. Eastern equine encephalitis has been diagnosed in a score of people in six states and several people have died so far this year. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Two horses, stabled at different locations in Suffolk, had to be euthanized after they were diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) confirms the horses were tested for EEE after showing neurological signs. The first horse tested positive for EEE on July 14 and the second horse tested positive the following day.

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.

According to VDACS, it can take up to ten days for signs of the disease to appear after a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito.

There is a vaccination available for horses, for both EEE and the West Nile Virus (WNV). The mortality rate for WNV is 30% and up to 90% for EEE. 

VDACS says vaccinations are effective for six to 12 months.

For more information on how to control mosquitoes around horses, visit this link.

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