web analytics

Tag Archive | "Eastern Equine Encephalitis"

EEE found in Barry County horse


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced the state’s first reported case in 2015 of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a Barry County horse.The testing was done by the private practitioner who sent the blood sample directly to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa.

MDARD was notified on September 4 that a Barry County horse had a positive blood test suggesting EEE exposure, and the horse had already been euthanized. This horse had not been vaccinated for EEE.

“EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses are a huge concern for our equine community,” said Dr. James Averill, MDARD’s State Veterinarian. “Horse owners in Michigan should be aware of the risk and take extra measures to protect their animals.”

Cases of EEE in horses are a sign that people should take steps to guard themselves against mosquitoes by applying repellent, and wearing protective clothing.

For 2015, MDARD is working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health on a surveillance program for mosquito-borne viruses in animals. Veterinarians working with horses showing neurological signs are encouraged to contact MDARD at 517-284-5767 for information on assistance with diagnostic testing.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a serious zoonotic viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus mainly causes disease in horses but can also cause serious illness in poultry, people, and other animals such as deer and even dogs. The disease is not spread through horse-to-horse or horse-to-human contact. In horses, EEE can cause severe swelling of the brain, stumbling, depression and sometimes blindness. There is an effective vaccine for horses and horse owners should work with their veterinarian to determine if their horse needs to be vaccinated.

Mosquito management is vital in the prevention of mosquito-borne illnesses that cause illness in both humans and in horses. People should take steps to guard their animals against mosquitoes by eliminating standing water and bringing horses and pets indoors from early evening until after sunrise when mosquitoes are out in full force.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a reportable disease in both humans and animals. If there is a suspected case in humans, physicians are encouraged to contact their local health department. If you suspect an animal may have EEE, you should report it to MDARD at 800-292-3939, or for after-hours emergencies, 517-373-0440.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

West Nile Virus confirmed in horses

Residents should be diligent about mosquito control


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill confirmed West Nile Virus (WNV) in two horses last week—one in Kent County and one in Ingham County—and reminds owners to get their horses vaccinated against the disease. WNV is a mosquito-borne disease affecting both humans and animals causing influenza-like symptoms and hospitalization in infants and older people who may be weak from other illnesses.

“Horses can be sentinel animals for what is going on around us. If a horse is sick, you can be sure there is reason to be cautious,” Averill said. “Signs of WNV in horses may include stumbling, tremors, skin twitching, struggling to get up, and facial paralysis, difficulty passing urine, a high temperature, impaired vision, and seizures. This is a very serious illness, and horses may ultimately have to be euthanized.”

Since West Nile Virus is spread to horses through the bite of an infected mosquito, protection measures reducing exposure to mosquito bites should be adopted. Horse owners should follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne illness:

1. Vaccinate. WNV vaccines are inexpensive and readily available. It is not too late.

2. Use approved insect repellants to protect horses and follow label instructions.

3. If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns, preferably under fans.

4. Eliminate standing water and drain troughs, and large containers at least once a week.

As of September 9, 12 human cases of WNV had been reported in Michigan in various counties. Blood donor screening provides an important early warning of WNV activity. Most people who are infected with WNV do not develop an illness, but the virus might be temporarily present in their blood. Because people may not know they have been infected, all donated blood is screened and samples are reported as “probable” cases, pending follow-up and testing of the donors. Last year, 202 WNV human illnesses and 17 human fatalities were reported in Michigan.

In addition, birds from 46 out of Michigan’s 83 counties have been found dead and reported to have WNV. Five counties also identified WNV positive mosquito pools (Bay, Kent, Midland, Saginaw, and Tuscola) from 3,128 mosquito pools and 43,393 mosquitoes tested.

Michigan is screening for five arboviruses: West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis,  Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), LaCrosse Encephalitis , or Powassan. The only mosquito-borne viruses that appear to be active right now are EEE (reported in a Van Buren County horse last week) and WNV. See up to date info at  www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

Posted in HealthComments Off on West Nile Virus confirmed in horses