Mississippi Reports 7 EEE Cases in Horses

All seven horses were either unvaccinated or undervaccinated against the mosquito-borne disease.

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Mississippi Reports 7 EEE Cases in Horses
EEE is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to equids by infected mosquitoes. | Photo: iStock
As of July 23, 2019, the Mississippi Board of Animal Health has confirmed seven cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) since June 7, 2019, according to an outbreak alert released by the Equine Disease Communication Center. Veterinarians confirmed the most recent case on July 7, 2019. All cases were related to unvaccinated or undervaccinated horses, and all horses died or were euthanized because of the disease.

What Is EEE?

EEE is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to equids by infected mosquitoes.

Clinical signs in horses include:

  • Moderate to high fever;
  • Depression;
  • Lack of appetite;
  • Cranial nerve deficits (facial paralysis, tongue weakness, difficulty swallowing);
  • Behavioral changes (aggression, self-mutilation, or drowsiness);
  • Gait abnormalities; and
  • Severe central nervous system signs, such as head-pressing, circling, blindness, and seizures.
RELATED CONTENT | Horse Health Alert: Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (Video)

The disease can progress rapidly, with death occurring two to three days after onset of clinical signs despite intensive care in some cases. Fatality rates can reach 75-80%. Equids that survive might have long-lasting impairments and neurologic problems

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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