EEE found in Suffolk

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, September 18, 2014

The first Virginia case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year has turned up in Suffolk, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported Thursday.

The infected horse, a 2-year-old Arabian male, was vaccinated for EEE and West Nile Virus more than a year ago but was not re-vaccinated this year, according to the press release from VDACS.

Last year, Virginia had no reported cases of EEE in horses or other livestock. It has a mortality rate of around 80 percent, so prevention is a key part of equine health.


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The disease is generally transmitted by mosquitoes. Prevention methods for horses and other livestock include vaccination and removing them from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn. Prevention for animals and humans includes destroying standing-water breeding sites and using insect repellent.

Horse owners should work with their veterinarians to plan a vaccination schedule that will protect their animals, according to Dr. Richard Wilkes, VDACS’ state veterinarian. The vaccine must be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed, and horses must be vaccinated twice, about a month apart, in the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually.

In an area where the disease occurs frequently, such as Hampton Roads, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months.

For more information, call 804-692-0601 or consult your local veterinarian.