Horse dies after contracting EEE virus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Horse dies after contracting EEE virus

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BROOKS COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

Health officials are warning you to protect yourself from mosquitoes after a horse died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis in south Georgia.

The first case of EEE in Georgia this year took the life of a two-year-old horse in Brooks County. Veterinarian Mary Rogers had to put the western performance horse to sleep after he was bitten by an infected mosquito.

"If you have a horse that has Eastern Encephalitis, then you know it's in the area. It's in the birds in the area, and the mosquitos are transmitting it. So you know you have to be very careful, and you have to be very careful for yourself as well," said Rogers.

The disease is carried by birds and transmitted to mosquitoes, that can then bite and infect horses and people.

To protect horses its just a $20 vaccination. For humans all you need is mosquito repellant containing the ingredient DEET.

"It's really simple: vaccinate your horses, vaccinate them properly. I have never seen a case of Eastern Encephalitis in a properly vaccinated horse. It's not difficult," said Rogers.

Health officials also say these mosquitoes usually bite at dusk and dawn. They warn people to empty any standing water on your property and wear long sleeves if you can. And while EEE is typically not life threatening in humans, it is in horses.

"If you purchase a horse and the owners tell you he's been vaccinated for everything, unless you have the paper work in front of you, revaccinate him, it will not hurt to revaccinate," said Rogers.

People who are infected will show symptoms of fever, muscle pains, headaches, and possibly seizures.

EEE is known as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. However, it is not transmittable from person to person.

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