Deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis Claims the Life of South Carolina Horse

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) – it’s a mouthful, isn’t it? It’s also pretty dangerous if you are a horse. On July 21st, Dr. Boyd Parr, state veterinarian and director of Clemson University Livestock – Poultry Health identified the first case of EEE this year in Dillon, SC. With this discovery, vets all over the state are urging horse owners to have their animals vaccinated. Ninety percent of unvaccinated horses exposed to EEE will die, as did the one in Dillon. South Carolina has led the nation in cases of this disease in the past. In 2013, 49 horses became infected and of those, 48 died. It is statistics like this that prove getting your horses vaccinated isn’t optional.

What About EEE in Humans?

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is transmitted by the black-tailed mosquito, which is considered a freshwater swamp mosquito. They get the virus from birds that live in marshy, swampy areas and most often they pass it on to horses. In horses you will see symptoms of stumbling, circling, head pressing, weakness or paralysis, and twitching within 2 to 5 days. And again… most likely death.

Humans react differently. EEE is quite rare in humans actually and even when contracted there may be no symptoms. However, 33% of humans that become sick, will die. So while rare, it is more dangerous to humans than some of the other mosquito-borne illnesses we often speak of. Encephalitis, as the name of the virus suggests, can ensue, causing inflammation of the brain and possibly permanent brain damage. There is no treatment for the disease in humans, only treatment of the symptoms, in efforts to lower risks of long-term disabilities. The best thing a human can do is avoid mosquito bites.

Protecting Your Animals and Yourself from EEE

So yes, there is a vaccine for your horses that protect them from EEE, but not for humans. Therefore if you are going to spend time with your vaccinated animals you must protect yourself. If you have stables in an area around your home consider turning the lights off in the evening hours, be aware of barrels and other areas that can hold stagnant water. Horsechannel.com advises avoiding putting the animals out to pasture during dawn and dusk when mosquito activity is high, and use insect repellent.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville

Mosquito Squad of Greenville has an automatic misting system that is perfect for these types of areas that require more continuous mosquito control. This system releases a 30-second spray several times daily and comes with a remote control so that you can adjust these sprays to fit your needs. The automatic mosquito misting system eliminates up to 90% of mosquitoes on contact and comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call us today and let’s work together to find the method of mosquito control that best suits your needs. 864-277-4299

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