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Eastern Equine Encephalitis discovered in Clare County horse

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Posted at 10:33 AM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 10:33:32-04

MICHIGAN — Health officials say a horse has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Clare County.

They say disease is spread by mosquitos and nearly 90% of horses diagnosed die from the illness.

“This Clare County horse was never vaccinated against EEE, and it developed signs of illness—including walking in circles, leaning to the right, and pressing her head against objects—which progressed to the horse being down on the ground with an inability to get up,” said Dr. Wineland. “Horse owners in Michigan should take extra measures to protect their animals.”

To protect your animals, measures could include the following:

  • Talking to a veterinarian about vaccinating horses against EEE.
  • Placing horses in a barn under fans (as mosquitos are not strong flyers) during peak mosquito activity from dusk to dawn.
  • Using an insect repellant on the animals that is approved for the species.
  • Eliminating standing water on the property—i.e., fill in puddles, repair eaves, and change the water in buckets and bowls at least once a day.
  • Contacting a veterinarian if a horse shows signs of the illness: mild fever and stumbling, which can progress to being down and struggling to stand.

To protect yourself and your family, here’s what you should do now:

  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved products to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused children’s pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas. Overall, mosquito-borne illnesses, like EEE, will continue to pose a risk to both animals and humans until late fall when nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing.

To learn more information about this disease and other airborne illnesses click here.