Horse diagnosed with EEE

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Additional Eastern Equine Encephalitis activity has been identified in Suffolk, according to press releases from the city and from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

A horse that lives on Godwin Boulevard close to the Isle of Wight County border has been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease. It had been vaccinated and is recovering.

Without the vaccine, the mortality rate for horses is 80 to 90 percent, according to VDACS. The kind of mosquito that carries the disease rarely bites humans, but Suffolk residents still should be aware of the activity in order to protect themselves and their animals.

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Cases of the virus have been identified in mosquitoes from several neighborhoods, including lay Hill, Chuckatuck, Cove Point, Hosier Road, Kempton Park, Kilby Shores, Nansemond Shores, Olde Mill Creek, Regency Estates, Riverside Estates, Saddlebrook, Suburban Woods, West Jericho and the Woodlands of Nansemond.

That’s in addition to the areas of Lake Kennedy, Lamb Avenue, Portsmouth Boulevard commuter lot, Burnett’s Mill, Rivercliff, Dayle Acres and Pughsville, where EEE activity was detected last month.

EEE causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and symptoms in horses include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death, according to VDACS, whose press release on the recent case stated that it can take three to 10 days for symptoms to manifest themselves.

Last year, Virginia had three cases of EEE reported, including one in Suffolk.

Horse owners are encouraged to work with their veterinarians to plan a vaccination schedule for their animals, and city officials are working to reduce mosquito populations.

Suffolk Mosquito Control has increased surveillance, treatment of standing water and spray applications for these areas.

Officials are also asking residents for their help in the effort, suggesting the following steps for limiting the places where disease-carrying mosquitoes might survive:

  • Empty water-holding containers such as buckets, drums, bottles, tin cans, wheelbarrows, potted plant trays and so on.
  • Properly dispose of used tires.
  • Clear roof gutters, downspouts and corrugated black drainpipes.
  • Clean wading and swimming pools.
  • Drain water from tarps.
  • Place Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home, including ditches and low-lying areas.

Free Mosquito Dunks are available, with some restrictions, from a variety of locations around Suffolk, including fire stations, City Hall, the city’s libraries and the East Suffolk and Whaleyville recreation centers.

For more information, call Suffolk Mosquito Control at 514-7609.