When an EEE-infected mosquito bites a non-immune horse (or human), the virus spreads through the body and attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) causing nervous signs such as profound depression, blindness, staggering and even seizures. Most affected horses die within several days.
Does EEE affect horses?
The equine encephalitis viruses are mosquito transmitted diseases that can cause severe inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) in horses and humans. As the names suggest, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) most commonly occurs in the Eastern United States and Canada.
How effective is the EEE vaccine for horses?
“The mortality rate for WNV is 30 percent and up to 90 percent for EEE,” said Charlie Broaddus, DVM, VDACS state veterinarian. “Vaccinations for WNV and EEE are highly effective in minimizing disease, if given appropriately.
Is EEE fatal in horses?
Signs of EEE in horses include fever; a sleepy appearance; some muscle twitches of the head, neck, shoulder and flank; and a weak, staggering gait. Affected animals are soon down, unable to stand. There is no effective treatment. The fatality rate is 90 percent or higher.
What are the effects of EEE?
Severe cases of EEE infection begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting that may progress into disorientation, seizures, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and coma.
Can a vaccinated horse get EEE?
Although vaccination has reduced the size and number of outbreaks of EEE, WEE and VEE in horses, the impact of these diseases is still significant because of the high mortality rate.
Can you survive EEE?
There is no cure for EEE, and 3 of every 10 people who get the disease die from it. Doctors provide supportive treatment, lower the fever, and ease the pressure on the brain and spinal cord. Some people who survive this disease will be permanently disabled and only about half recover completely.
What is the difference between EEE and WEE?
Western equine encephalitis (WEE), as the name implies, is found primarily in the western United States. The WEE virus is very similar to the one that causes EEE, and it produces similar signs, including fever and depression, ataxia0, head pressing, paralysis and convulsions. WEE, however, is far less deadly than EEE.
What are the symptoms of equine encephalitis?
Signs and symptoms of neurologic disease include fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, behavioral changes, drowsiness, and coma. In infants, neurologic disease often occurs soon after onset; in older children and adults, encephalitis may occur after several days of systemic illness.
How likely is it to get EEE?
People who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities in endemic areas are at increased risk of infection. Persons over age 50 and under age 15 seem to be at greatest risk for developing severe disease when infected with EEEV. Overall, only about 4-5% of human EEEV infections result in EEE.
Do all mosquitoes carry EEE?
EEE is spread only from infected mosquitoes. Infected mosquitoes also are the primary way people become infected with WNV, although a few cases of WNV have been transmitted by blood transfusion, organ transplantation, from a pregnant woman to her infant and through breastfeeding.
Should I worry about EEE?
However, EEE is also exceptionally dangerous. About one in three people who become severely ill with the virus die. Severe cases occur when people develop the virus’s most fatal symptom: brain inflammation or swelling, called encephalitis.
Is the EEE virus still around?
Outbreaks of EEE usually occur in Massachusetts every 10-20 years. These outbreaks will typically last two to three years. The most recent outbreak of EEE in Massachusetts began in 2019 and included twelve cases with six fatalities. The outbreak continued in 2020 with five cases including one fatality.
How do you prevent EEE virus?
There is no vaccine to prevent EEE virus infection. The best way to prevent EEE is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, treat clothing and gear, and take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.