Deadly mosquito virus strikes horse in Ashtabula

Mosquito feeding on the finger,macro 3:1 life size ratio. (Getty Images)

ASHTABULA- The Ohio Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian is urging horse owners to take precaution, after a deadly case of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) was confirmed in Ashtabula.

Dr. Tony Forshey wants horse owners to contact their veterinarian to ensure the animal’s EEE vaccine and boosters are up to date.

“This is a serious disease and the most effective way to prevent your horses from getting EEE is to have the animals vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian,” said Dr. Forshey. “It is spread through mosquitoes and can also affect people, so taking steps to manage the mosquito population, such as eliminating standing water, will also help prevent EEE and other vector-borne viruses, like West Nile virus.”

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is transmitted to horses by mosquitoes and attacks the animal’s central nervous system.  Onset is abrupt and usually fatal. Symptoms include unsteadiness, erratic behavior, a marked loss of coordination and seizures.

Because EEE can also be transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes. To protect yourself,  doctors suggest applying repellent and wearing protective clothing.

The disease is very rare in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year.

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