The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced Sept. 14 that the state’s first reported case in 2015 of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) was identified earlier this month in a Barry County horse.

The testing was done by the private practitioner who sent the blood sample directly to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa. The MDARD was notified on Sept. 4 that the horse had a positive blood test suggesting EEE exposure and the horse had already been euthanized. This horse had not been vaccinated against EEE.

“EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses are a huge concern for our equine community,” said Dr. James Averill, DVM, PhD, MDARD’s state veterinarian. “Horse owners in Michigan should be aware of the risk and take extra measures to protect their animals.”

Cases of EEE in horses are a sign that people should take steps to guard themselves against mosquitoes by applying repellent, and wearing protective clothing.

For 2015, the MDARD is working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health on a surveillance program for mosquito-borne viruses in animals. Veterinarians working with horses showing neurologic signs are encouraged to contact MDARD at 517/284-5767 for information on assistance with diagnostic testing.

[brightcove videoid="3127291880001" title="Health Alert: EEE, WEE, VEE"]

A viral disease, EEE affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to horses by infected m