Georgia Horse Tests Positive for EEE

Georgia Horse Tests Positive for EEE

Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health officials are encouraging all horse owners to vaccinate their animals against the virus.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

A horse in west Chatham County has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a virus that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, environmental health officials announced Sept. 26.

Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health officials are encouraging all horse owners to vaccinate their animals against the virus.

A viral disease, EEE affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs of EEE include moderate to high fever, depression, lack of appetite, cranial nerve deficits (facial paralysis, tongue weakness, difficulty swallowing), behavioral changes (aggression, self-mutilation, or drowsiness), gait abnormalities, or severe central nervous system signs, such as head-pressing, circling, blindness, and seizures.

The course of EEE can be swift, with death occurring two to three days after onset of clinical signs despite intensive care; fatality rates reach 75-80% among horses. Horses that survive might have long-lasting impairments and neurologic problems.

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