Rhode Island Officials Confirm 2019’s First Equine EEE Case

Veterinarians euthanized the 6-month-old colt due to poor prognosis. Additionally, the state has reported its first human case since 2010.
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Rhode Island Officials Confirm 2019’s First Equine EEE Case
Rhode Island’s state veterinarian, Scott Marshall, DVM, confirmed on Aug. 28 that a Westerly, Washington County, horse tested positive for Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island’s state veterinarian, Scott Marshall, DVM, confirmed on Aug. 28 that a Westerly, Washington County, horse tested positive for Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). The 6-month-old Belgian colt presented with neurologic signs on Aug. 23 at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, in North Grafton, Massachusetts. His condition worsened, and on Aug. 24 he was euthanized due to the severity of his signs and a poor prognosis.

On Aug. 30 state officials reported Rhode Island’s first human EEE case since 2010. Mosquitoes carrying the disease have been located in Westerly and Central Falls, Rhode Island.

EEE 101

Eastern equine encephalomyelitis is caused by the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, for which wild birds are a natural reservoir. Mosquitoes that feed on EEE-infected birds can transmit the virus to humans, horses, and other birds. Horses do not develop high enough levels of these viruses in their blood to be contagious to other animals or humans. 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

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