Health officials stress prevention as more Triple-E cases are confirmed

CARTERET COUNTY, NC (WITN) With six confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or Triple-E, in horses in the state, health officials are alerting us about precautions to prevent the deadly mosquito borne virus.

State health officials say the large amounts of rainfall could be the reason for an early onset of equine cases this year.

It wasn't until October last year that there were six cases statewide.

Vets say equine animal owners need to take precautions as Triple-E can be deadly to unvaccinated animals like horses and donkeys.

Dr. Emily Gilmette, equine veterinarian, says, "It's heartbreaking to hear as a horse lover and a horse owner, it's heartbreaking to hear that some of these horses have passed without having any protection."

Vets say there is a vaccine that horses should have twice a year, especially as we get further into mosquito season.

​But Triple-E is not just a concern for equine owners. Infected mosquitoes can also transmit Triple-E to humans.

​Donna Faiella, communicable disease nurse, says, "Some people are bitten and it doesn't affect them but some people such as the very young or the elderly, who's immune system is compromised, it can be devastating."

For most people Triple-E has symptoms similar to the flu.

Veterinarians and health officials say spraying for mosquitoes is a good idea to help protect yourself.

They also recommend using bug spray with Deet, wearing long sleeves while outdoors, and getting rid of standing water around your home.