If you watch the news lately, you’ve certainly heard about Eastern Equine Encephalitis – also called EEE “Triple E.” The virus is spread to humans and animals from the bite of an infected mosquito. The CDC reports the disease mostly occurs in eastern and Gulf Coast states, putting South Carolina right in the center of the hot zone.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis is more of a danger to horses than any other animal due to the type of mosquitoes that carry it. In fact, the third case of EEE in South Carolina this year was confirmed last week. The disease, unfortunately, took the life of a horse right here in Sumter County. Once we know EEE is in the area, we can warn people to take extra precautions to protect themselves and their livestock and horses.
EEE In Horses
First thing you need to do is make sure your horses are always up-to-date on vaccines. Luckily there is a EEE vaccine. If a horse becomes infected with EEE you may see some of the following symptoms; moderate to high fever, depression, lack of appetite, facial paralysis, tongue weakness, difficulty swallowing, aggression, self-mutilation, drowsiness, gait abnormalities, head-pressing, circling, blindness, or seizures.
The disease will progress rapidly and can cause death within just two or three days of symptoms first appearing. The fatality rate is 75-80%, and those who survive can suffer long-term problems.
EEE In Humans
Although rare, EEE in humans can be quite dangerous. Humans infected with EEE will either suffer systemic illness or encephalitic illness.
Systemic EEE infection can cause chills, fever, depression, joint pain, or muscle pain. The illness can last for one to two weeks.
Encephalitic EEE infection can cause abrupt onset in infants, but in older children and adults may come on after a few days of systemic illness. Signs of encephalitic illness can include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and coma.
There is NO treatment and NO vaccine against EEE for humans. Treatment when sick is generally supportive care for easing of symptoms.
About ONE-THIRD of all humans infected with EEE will die from the disease. Others who do recover are often left with disabling and progressive mental and physical symptoms.
Avoiding Mosquito Bites is the Best EEE Prevention
With mosquito test results coming back with EEE and several cases in the area of EEE in horses, we know the mosquitoes in the area are carrying the virus. Along with West Nile, the latter part of summer is when EEE arrives on the scene, and it will stay for the duration of the mosquito season.
From now until winter arrives, it is vital that you take every precaution when outdoors. Use a repellent containing DEET, follow the Ts of mosquito control, and take advantage of our mosquito barrier treatment for the most comprehensive approach to minimizing the risk of mosquito bites.
Many of our small farmers and horse owners prefer the automatic mosquito misting system for constant mosquito control all year long. The system is perfect for installing around stables and barns.
Call today to get a FREE quote for mosquito control at your home or business.