84 Florida EEE Cases

The number of cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in Florida has risen to 84. The cases have been found in 30 counties. Only 22 of the horses were alive at the time of reporting the disease, but according to officials, many of the horses probably did not live through the days following diagnosis. Bill Jeter, DVM, diagnostic veterinary manager for Florida's Division of Animal Industry, has said that the mortality rate in Florida EEE outbreaks is about 90%.

Twenty-four of the horses began showing clinical signs in March. April and May each marked the arrival of 28 new cases. As of June 13, 4 cases have had a June date of onset.

Marion County has had the most cases—tests confirmed that 9 horses in the county had EEE. Gilchrist County has logged 8 cases, followed by Levy with 7, and Alachua and Osceola with 6 each. Other cases are sprinkled throughout counties in north central Florida.

Florida had 25 EEE cases reported in 2002.

Officials encourage horse owners to vaccinate for EEE, reduce mosquito populations in barn areas (see article #3672--“Mosquito Patrol”), and limit equine exposure to mosquitoes.

To learn more about EEE and other encephalitides, visit article #762--"Encephalomyelitis." For information on West Nile virus specifically, visit http://www.TheHorse.com/wnv.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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