A South Carolina foal tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) last week, marking that state's first case of 2013.
In a June 28 statement, Boyd Parr, DVM, South Carolina state
veterinarian and director of the Clemson University Livestock Poultry
Health, announced that a foal from Sumter County (located in central
South Carolina) that died recently tested positive for the disease. Two
adult horses that died at the same farm around the same time are
suspected of also having EEE, the statement indicated.
“This diagnosis is a vivid reminder of the threat that mosquito-borne
diseases represent to horses in our state,” Parr said in the statement.
“Maintaining protection by vaccinating horses is important again this
During 2012 there were 14 confirmed EEE cases and seven WNV cases in South Carolina.
A viral disease, EEE affects the central nervous system and is
transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes. The fatality rate for
EEE-affected horses is 75-95%. The course of EEE can be swift, with
death occurring two to three days after onset of clinical signs despite
intensive care. Horses that survive might have long-lasting impairments
and neurologic problems.
Clinical signs for EEE include moderate to high fever, depression, lack
of appetite, cranial nerve deficits (facial paralysis, tongue weakness,
difficulty swallowing), behavioral changes (aggression,
self-mutilation, or drowsiness), gait abnormalities, or severe central
nervous system signs, such as head-pressing, circling, blindness, and
The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends all horses be vaccinated against EEE at least annually. (Triangle Equine suggests either annual or bi-annual vaccination, depending on your horse's lifestyle).
This article appeared on TheHorse.com