SUFFOLK, Va. – The second case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis to be found in a Virginia equine in 2016 has been found in a pony from Suffolk, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Tuesday.
The pony had been vaccinated and is recovering.
The pony’s co-owner says he is a half-thoroughbred and half-Welsh pony. They report he is now home from being treated at N.C. State.
VDACS received confirmation of the diagnosis from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa on July 8. Without a vaccination, the disease has a 80 to 90 percent mortality rate.
In the Tidewater area, state veterinarians usually recommend a six-month vaccination interval.
“One of the reasons most veterinarians recommend a six-month vaccination schedule in Tidewater Virginia is because of the prevalence of mosquitos in the area,” said Dr. Charles Broaddus, State Veterinarian.
For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be revaccinated at least annually. In addition to vaccination, horse owners should avoid mosquito infested areas and take measures to reduce the local mosquito population to minimize the chances of mosquitos biting people and their horses.
Virginia has had one other case of EEE in 2016, also from Suffolk. In 2015, Virginia had three confirmed cases of EEE — one from Suffolk and two from Chesapeake.