The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported a confirmed Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) case in a 2-year-old quarter horse gelding in Jefferson County in the Big Bend region in the northern part of Florida.
Officials say the horse is affected and alive. His vaccination status is unknown.
This is the 6th confirmed EEE case for Florida in 2023.
The five other cases this year were reported from Lake County (1-January), St. John’s County (1-February), Polk County (2-both in April) and Baker County (1-May).
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is spread to horses and humans by infected mosquitoes, including several Culex species and Culiseta melanura.
EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. with a 90 percent fatality rate among horses that become ill and a 33 percent fatality rate among humans who become ill.
In horses, 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.