Horses in Two Wisconsin Counties Confirmed With EEE

The horses are the state’s seventh and eighth equids confirmed with EEE in 2021.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Mosquitoes that feed on EEE-infected birds can transmit the virus to humans, horses, and other birds. | Photo: iStock
On Oct. 8 officials at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WDATCP) confirmed two horses—one in Chippewa County and one in Green Lake County—with Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). Seven more Green Lake County horses were exposed.

The Chippewa County horse, an unvaccinated yearling Standardbred colt, began showing clinical signs on Sept. 29. The colt’s neurologic signs included blindness and head pressing.

The horse in Green Lake County, an unvaccinated 2-year-old Pony of the Americas (POA) filly, began showing signs on Oct. 3. Her signs included ataxia (incoordination), depression, and seizures. She was euthanized. Seven more equines on her farm were potentially exposed.

The affected horses are Wisconsin’s seventh and eighth confirmed cases of EEE in equines in 2021, and the first confirmed case in both Chippewa and Green Lake county.

EEE 101

Eastern equine encephalomyelitis is caused by the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, for which wild birds are a natural reservoir. Mosquitoes that feed on EEE-infected birds can transmit the virus to humans, horses, and other birds. Horses do not develop high enough levels of these viruses in their blood to be contagious to other animals or humans. Because of the high mortality rate in horses and humans, EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States.

Health Alert: EEE, WEE, and VEE
VIDEO | Health Alert: EEE, WEE, and VEE

Tips for preventing mosquito-borne diseases include:

  • Avoid mosquito bites: Use insect repellent when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn.
  • Look for EPA-labeled products containing active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin (KBR3023), or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol).
  • Apply more repellent, according to label instructions, if mosquitoes start to bite.
  • Mosquito-proof homes: Fix or install window and door screens, and cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
  • Protect your horses: Veterinarians recommend commercially available licensed vaccines against EEE for all horses in the U.S. Horses should be vaccinated at least annually (recommendations vary in high-risk areas). It’s not too late this year to vaccinate your horses.
  • Use approved insect repellents to protect horses.
  • If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns during the prime mosquito exposure hours of dusk and dawn.
  • Eliminate standing water, drain water troughs, and empty buckets at least weekly.
  • Stock water tanks with fish that consume mosquito larvae (contact your local mosquito control for assistance), or use mosquito “dunks” (solid “donuts” of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which are nontoxic to horses) available at hardware stores.

Share

Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Has your veterinarian used SAA testing for your horse(s)?
87 votes · 87 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!