EEE: New Jersey Reports First Case

A 2-year-old mare from Monmouth County, N.J., was euthanized this month after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). This is the first 2010 case of EEE to be reported in the state.

The mare was not vaccinated against EEE, which causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death in horses than infection from West Nile virus (WNV), a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. Both viral diseases are spread by infected mosquitoes.

While the EEE case is the first of 2010 in New Jersey, two horses--a 2-year-old mare from Atlantic County and a 22-year-old gelding from Gloucester County--were euthanized this year after contracting WNV. Neither had been vaccinated against the virus.

In 2009 New Jersey had one case of WNV, six horses tested positive for EEE, and three animals were presumptive positive for EEE. In 2008 there were no cases of either disease.

The Department of Agriculture recommends that horse owners make sure their horses are up-to-date on both EEE and WNV vaccinations.

About the Author

Marie Rosenthal, MS

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