State Vet: Vaccinate Horses to Keep EEE, WNV Rates Low in South Carolina

South Carolina had one of the lowest incidences of EEE in the Southeastern U.S. in 2018, and animal health officials hope owners will keep horses’ vaccines current to maintain those low case numbers.
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Studies have shown that vaccines can be effective in preventing both EEE and WNV when administered properly and appropriately. | Photo: Erica Larson/The Horse

Nothing succeeds like success, and horse owners have the chance to build on their success in 2018—providing they don’t rest on their laurels. South Carolina had one of the lowest incidences of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in the Southeastern U.S. in 2018—just a single case in Chesterfield County—along with four cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in horses. North Carolina and Georgia each reported seven confirmed cases of EEE last year while Florida reported 66.

“We’d like to see our numbers reduced to zero this year,” said Boyd Parr, DVM, South Carolina state veterinarian and director of Clemson University Livestock Poultry Health, in Columbia, a state agency responsible for protecting animal and consumer health through disease control and meat and poultry product inspections.

Both EEE and WNV are viral diseases that attack horses and other equine hosts through the nervous system. Borne by mosquitoes, EEE is almost always fatal in unvaccinated horses

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