Eastern Equine Encephalitis presents a real, yet manageable threat for Michigan horses

If you are unsure of your horse’s vaccination status, consider revaccinating.

A Van Buren County horse has been confrimed by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) as having died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). As with several other encephalitic diseases, EEE is contracted when an animal is bitten by an infected mosquito, which has bitten a wild bird harboring the virus. Humans are also susceptible to EEE, however horses do not harbor enough of the virus in their blood to make them contagious to humans or other animals. When horses contract EEE, it is nearly always fatal, however, the vaccine is extremely effective in preventing the disease. Horses should also be vaccinated for West Nile Virus, another common encephalitic disease. If you are unsure of your horse’s vaccination status, or if your horse received its most recent vaccination more than six months ago, you may want to consider revaccinating, as mosquitos may stay active in Michigan’s environment until November.

Unfortunately, there is no human vaccine against EEE, which may be fatal or life changing in humans. Michigan State University Extension has excellent information in regard to managing exposure to mosquitos, thus lessening the chance of contracting the disease. For more information on EEE in horses, please contact your veterinarian or the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Additional information can be found at:

Mosquitoes carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus

Michigan horses found positive for mosquito-borne disease Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Eastern Equine Encephalitis page

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