25 Confirmed Cases of EEE in Florida Counties

The number of confirmed cases remains within normal ranges.
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25 Confirmed Cases of EEE in Florida Counties
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. | Photo: iStock

Rachel Lacey, DVM, equine programs manager for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, confirmed on Aug. 12 that 25 Florida equids have tested positive this year for Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). The number is within the “normal” range, she said. In 2018 Florida officials confirmed 64 cases.

Officials have not confirmed several suspected cases due to the veterinarians’ or owners’ inability to obtain a blood serum or brain tissue sample for laboratory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

“The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends vaccinating for EEE every four to six months in high-risk areas such as Florida,” Lacey said. “The vaccine is very effective if given properly. There are many elements to consider when choosing a vaccination protocol for your horse, such as the age and overall health of the individual and environmental and circumstantial risk factors. This is why we highly recommend that owners work closely with their veterinarians to determine the plan that best suits their needs

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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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