On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a 13-year old, unvaccinated, female chestnut draft mix located in Onslow County, North Carolina. This is the second case of EEE in North Carolina for 2018.

Beautiful horses
Public domain image/Dusan Bicanski

This follows reports of a EEE case in Richmond County last week.

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.