Two more horses in Jefferson County positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) – The Jefferson County Public Health Service has been notified by the New York State Department of Health that the two horses with pending results from July 30 are positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

A total of three horses have tested positive for EEE in the area of Perch Lake. According to a release from Jefferson County Public Health, all three horses were exhibiting similar symptoms and were euthanized.

EEE is very rare but serious caused by the bite of a mosquito. Mosquitoes infected with EEE virus can infect people, horses and other mammals, some birds, reptiles and amphibians.

About 5-10 EEE human cases are reported each year in the U.S. Five cases of EEE in people in New York State have been reported since 1971. All five cases died.

The risk of getting EEE is highest from late July through September. People at the greatest risk of developing severe disease are those over 50 years of age and younger than 15 years of age. There is no specific treatment available for EEE.

Jefferson County Public Health is working with local, regional and state experts on reducing the risk of EEE. Plans are being developed to conduct aerial spraying of the impacted area and provide education to the community. Aerial spraying is used effectively in many New York State areas.

Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. Protection measures include:

  • Wearing shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period.
  • Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 is also recommended to prevent mosquito bites. Do not put the repellent directly onto children. Put it on your hands and apply it to your child. Do not put insect repellent on your face. Wash skin and clothing after returning indoors. Follow label directions.
  • Repairing screens in your home so mosquitoes can not enter. Emptying and scrubbing, turning over, covering, or throwing out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. This eliminates places for mosquitoes to lay eggs.
  • Horse owners should speak to their veterinarians about vaccination against EEE.

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