N.C. Confirms its First Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Case of 2019

The 4-year-old unvaccinated mare was euthanized after veterinarians confirmed the disease.
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N.C. Confirms its First Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Case of 2019
Because of the high mortality rate for horses and humans, EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. | Photo: Thinkstock
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) reports that a 4-year-old unvaccinated mare has been euthanized after contracting the state’s first Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) case of 2019.

“If your horses exhibit any symptoms of EEE, contact your veterinarian immediately,” said N.C. State Veterinarian Doug Meckes, DVM, in a statement. “It is imperative that horse owners keep their vaccines current. Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinating them as soon as possible against EEE and West Nile virus.”

For horses, mules, and donkeys with no prior vaccination history, the vaccination initially requires two shots given 30 days apart. Due to North Carolina’s prolonged mosquito season, Meckes recommends a booster shot every six months.

EEE is caused by viruses found in wild birds. Mosquitoes that feed on birds infected with EEE can transmit the disease to humans, horses, and other birds. Some birds can harbor the EEE viruses without becoming acutely ill, thereby serving as reservoirs for the disease. Horses don’t develop high enough levels of these viruses in their blood to be contagious to other animals or humans. Because of the high mortality rate for horses and humans, EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States

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Written by:

Diane Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin, then married her education with her lifelong passion for horses by working in editorial positions at Appaloosa Journal for 12 years. She has also served on the American Horse Publications’ board of directors. She now freelances in writing, editing, and proofreading. She lives in Middleton, Idaho, and spends her spare time gardening, reading, serving in her church, and spending time with her daughters, their families, and a myriad of her own and other people’s pets.

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