Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed more cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Virginia horses.
Both horses were from Suffolk, a male Paint and an Arabian filly. Both horses were euthanized. Neither had up-to-date vaccinations, health department officials said in a news release.
VDACS confirmed the diagnosis from a veterinary services laboratory. Virginia also has had several other cases of EEE this year, also from Suffolk.
Last year Virginia had three reported cases of EEE, one from Suffolk and two from Chesapeake. The disease has a mortality rate of 80 to 90 percent, so prevention is a key part of equine health, officials said.
Vaccination and mosquito control and avoidance are the central elements of prevention.
VDACS encouraged horse owners to work with their veterinarians to plan a vaccination schedule that would protect their horses from EEE and West Nile Virus.
In addition to vaccination, it is a good idea to avoid mosquito infested areas and to take measures to reduce the local mosquito population to minimize the chances of mosquitoes biting horses or humans, officials said.
A horse cannot transmit EEE to a person, but the presence of infected mosquitoes in an area poses a risk to both species. Wearing protective clothing, destroying standing water breeding sites and using mosquito repellents are effective strategies for mosquito control.
For more information, contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult with your local veterinarian.