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Chesapeake horse tests positive for EEE, West Nile Virus

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 16:43:29-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) reports that a horse, tested positive for mosquito-born illnesses, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus.

Health officials say the female quarter horse was euthanized on August 7 after showing severe neurological symptoms. No other horses on the farm are showing symptoms of EEE or WNV.

VDACS encourages horse owners to speak with their veterinarians about vaccinating their horses for EEE and WNV, which are effective for six to twelve months. The mortality rate for WNV is 30% and up to 90% for EEE.

There is no cure for the disease, but it can be prevented through vaccination.

Related: Health officials warn residents of increased EEE activity, spread by mosquitoes, detected in Chesapeake

Health officials say typical symptoms include staggering, circling, depression, loss of appetite and sometimes fever and blindness.

Other prevention methods include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents, and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.

Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to ten days for signs of the disease to appear.

For more information on how to control mosquitoes around horses, click here.