Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Confirmed In New Jersey

Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) is a virus that is spread by infected mosquitoes and causes “sleeping sickness” in horses and has been confirmed as a cause of death in a N.J. horse. As of September 4, two new cases of EEE have been detected in N.J., which brings the total cases of EEE in the state to five for the year. Roger D. Olson, DVM, Maryland State Veterinarian, said there have been no new cases of the disease in N.J. as of September 8. Olson noted that most years there are no EEE cases in this area of the country, with most cases occurring in the lower Atlantic states where the mosquito population is heavier.

It has been determined that mosquitoes near Lewes, Del., are carrying the virus and are capable of transmitting the disease. The disease occurs most often during late summer and early fall, until the frosts and freezing weather kills the mosquitoes.

According to Olson, “Mosquito populations have generally been low on the Eastern Shore this summer, but this should not lull horse owners into a false sense of security. All equine owners should have their unvaccinated horses, ponies, mules, and asses vaccinated immediately by a veterinarian. It is also time for a booster for those animals vaccinated this past spring.”

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