The number of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus cases in horses in Florida have risen to 18 after seeing five additional cases last week, according to a report from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC).
The new cases were reported in Holmes, Washington, Osceola, Suwannee Counties, FL.
In addition to the horses, Florida health officials have reported positive cases in one emu, one eagle, and 34 sentinel chickens from 17 counties.
No human cases have been reported.
EEE is a mosquito-transmitted disease that is much more severe than West Nile Virus (WNV). The mortality rate in horses from WNV is reported at around 30%, while the rate for EEE is almost 90%. Infected mosquitoes are the primary source for EEE.
The virus causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. General symptoms include central nervous system signs such as: head pressing, convulsions, lack of response to facial stimulation, fever above 103 degrees, ataxia, paralysis, anorexia, depression and stupor. Other symptoms may include irregular gait, teeth grinding, in-coordination, circling, and staggering. All symptoms may not be exhibited by an infected horse.