CLARK CO. HORSE HAS ENCEPHALITIS
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 -- 1:22 pm
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director
Press Release from Clark County Health Department:
September 14, 2011
The Clark County Health Department reports that a horse in Clark County has been sickened from Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) reported the positive test results to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH). This is the County’s first documented case of the EEE mosquito-borne disease this year.
EEE is a viral disease transmitted by a bite of an infected mosquito to humans, horses, birds, and other animals. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. The virus is not transmitted directly between animals or between animals and humans. The EEE virus may be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito that may cause a rare neurologic illness in humans. Only one case of human EEE infection has been reported in Wisconsin since 1984.
Most people infected with EEE virus may not have any symptoms. However, a few people infected with EEE virus may experience symptoms involving encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) that begins with sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and vomiting. The illness may become severe resulting in disorientation, seizures, coma, or death. There is no specific treatment for this illness.
“Finding a positive horse confirms that there are mosquitoes in the area infected with EEE virus. These same mosquitoes could bite people,” said Robert Leischow, Health Officer. “The positive horse means that residents of Clark County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites and it is important that people contact their healthcare provider if they suspect they have EEE illness”.
“Horse owners who have not already had their animals vaccinated this year for EEE and other
mosquito-borne diseases should take this as a warning, and those who have vaccinated should check with their veterinarians to see whether a booster is indicated,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt. You should contact your veterinarian if your horse is unprotected. In addition to vaccination, horse owners can protect their horses by removing standing water and keeping animals inside from dusk to dawn.
Symptoms in horses include depression, loss of appetite, drooping eyelids and lower lip, aimless wandering and circling, blindness and sometimes paralysis. There is no cure; the disease must run its course and has a mortality rate of 90 percent or higher
“Clark County residents should be aware of EEE virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Leischow said. “The mosquito population is abundant here during the wet summer months, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”
The Clark County Health Department recommends the following:
• Maintain window screens in good repair to decrease indoor contact with mosquitoes.
• Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, specifically around dawn and dusk.
• Wear protective clothing such as long pants, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts.
• When outdoors, consider using an effective mosquito repellent (follow instructions). For CDC repellents information, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/insect_repellent.htm .
• Do not provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes—remove containers, old tires, unused wading pools, old bird bath water, and any objects where water can collect and mosquitoes can lay eggs.
• Trim tall grass, weeds and vines since mosquitoes use these places to rest during hot daylight hours.
• Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure they drain properly.
More information about EEE virus is available on the Internet at:
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