Horse Euthanized After Contracting Mosquito-Borne Disease

A four-year-old horse in Halifax County had to be euthanized after contracting the state's first reported case of Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis this year.

Triple E, as the disease is called, is a mosquito-borne disease. It's preventable in horses by yearly vaccination, and experts are sounding the alert.

“The number of reported EEE cases fluctuates each year,” said State Veterinarian David Marshall. “Late summer to early fall is peak mosquito season in North Carolina, and this is right on schedule for us to start seeing cases.”

According to the state, "North Carolina had 6 reported EEE cases in 2010, 23 in 2009 and 13 in 2008. It is estimated that for every reported case, four or more cases go unreported. There was one case last year of West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne disease that affects equine."

Officials report "people, horses and birds can become infected from a bite by a mosquito carrying the diseases, but there is no evidence that horses can transmit the virus to other horses, birds or people through direct contact."

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