From 2004 to 2013, Massachusetts was the #1 state for cases of a rare mosquito-borne illness called Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), commonly called “Triple E.” According to the CDC, Massachusetts reported 24 confirmed cases of EEE in humans during the period; the next highest state was Florida with 14 cases.
What is EEE?
Spread to humans and horses by the bite of an infected mosquito; EEE is a rare but deadly disease. Most people infected with the EEE virus never experience symptoms of illness. Those who do become ill can become severely ill with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain.) Severe cases of EEE begin with sudden onset high fever, headache, chills and vomiting. It can further progress to disorientation, seizures or coma. Approximately 33% of EEE cases lead to death, and most survivors experience severe brain damage. There is no specific treatment, cure or vaccine. However, it is vital to see your doctor who can help treat the symptoms and monitor your condition.
EEE in Horses
Horses can be infected by EEE from the bite of an infected mosquito. Triple E in horses is much more dangerous than in humans with the virus being fatal in 90% of cases that move to neurological illness. Symptoms of EEE in horses vary but can include depression, fever, listlessness progressing to neurological symptoms such as circling, head pressing, stumbling, coma and death. If you suspect EEE in your horse you need to get an emergency veterinarian visit immediately. The progression of EEE in horses is very fast, most deaths from EEE in horses happen within 48-72 hours of onset of illness.
The Good News for Horses
There is a vaccine for EEE in horses. The American Association of Equine Practitioners has the EEEvaccination list on their core list of vaccinations all horses should get. The list also includes vaccines for Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, rabies and tetanus. Annual vaccinations for EEE should be done in spring before mosquito season. Work with your veterinarian to make sure your horses are getting the vaccinations at the time that is right for them.
At Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Mass we offer additional prevention and peace of mind with a variety of mosquito control services. For your yard, our traditional barrier spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes. For your barn or stables, a mosquito control misting system can offer continuous protection all season long with daily sprays for a more than 90% reduction in mosquitoes. Call today to find out the right mosquito control method for you.