By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Agriculture officials in Florida have reported an additional case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse.

Florida map/National Atlas of the United States

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the confirmed case is from a private facility in Levy County, on Florida’s west coast.

This is the second case reported in Levy County this year, and the fifth reported in the state overall.

The EEE virus is transmitted by mosquitoes or other biting insects. Birds act as reservoirs for the virus; mosquitoes and other biting insects then carry the pathogen from infected birds and transmit it to horses when they bite. A horse affected with EEE is not contagious and poses no risk to other horses, humans or birds.

Clinical signs and symptoms in a horse include:

  • Depression and anorexia without fever when initially infected
  • Moderate to high fever 102.5-104.5°F (39.17-40.28°C)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy/drowsiness
  • Neurologic signs- Onset of neurologic disease is frequently sudden and progressive
    o Periods of hyperexcitability, apprehension and/or drowsiness
    o Fine tremors and fasiculations of the face and neck muscles
    o Convulsions
    o Cranial nerve paralysis– facial paralysis and weakness of the tongue are very common
    o Head tilt, droopy lip, muzzle deviation
    o Weakness, ataxia, and dysmetria (incoordination) in one or all limbs
    o Complete paralysis of one or more limbs
    o Colic
    o Recumbency (inability to stand)
    o Death

Prevention of EEE in horses is by vaccination.