The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported Jan. 13 that equine infectious anemia (EIA) was confirmed in Illinois in late 2016.
“The Illinois State Veterinarian’s Office received positive EIA test results from a horse stabled in Northeast Illinois in mid-November,” the EDCC said. “Prior to the results being returned, the horse was removed from the premises and has been lost to follow-up. USDA Investigative and Enforcement Services is involved in the case.
“The premises was quarantined,” the report continued. “Additional testing of equine on the premises disclosed one additional positive animal. That animal has been euthanized. The remaining animals were negative for EIA.”
Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks horses’ immune systems. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from an infected to a noninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies, and more rarely through the use of blood-contaminated instruments or needles.
A Coggins test screens horses’ blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of EIA, and most states require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test in order to travel.
Once an animal is infected with EIA, it is infected for life and can be a reservoir for the spread of disease. Obvious clinical signs of the disease include progressive loss of condition along with muscle weakness and poor stamina. An affected horse also could show fever, depression, and anemia.