2013-10-03 / News

Richmond horse put down after confirmed EEE

A horse from Richmond was euthanized on Sept. 20 after test results confirmed that it had tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, according to the state Health Department.

The 1-year-old horse was taken to Tufts Veterinary School in Massachusetts for treatment, but records showed the animal was not fully immunized against EEE, a disease spread by mosquitoes. It was subsequently put down. Last week officials in Connecticut confirmed the first case of EEE in a horse this year when a 2-year-old miniature horse tested positive. The animal from Griswold, Conn., had not been vaccinated against EEE or West Nile virus.

In the most recent samples, mosquito pools set in Providence, East Providence and nearby North Kingstown were confirmed positive for West Nile. Test results from a mosquito pool in Exeter tested positive for EEE.

Because horses are susceptible to both mosquito-borne illnesses, Rhode Island horse owners are reminded that effective vaccines are available to protect their horses. Horse owners should check with their veterinarian to ensure that their horses are properly immunized.

A man from Exeter was recently treated for EEE. Eastern equine encephalitis is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with about 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors.

Mosquito season typically lasts through the first hard frost.

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