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NEW: Rhode Island Horse Euthanized After Testing Positive for EEE

Thursday, September 26, 2013

 

A Rhode Island has been euthanized after testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). To date, four pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE in RI.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Department of Health (HEALTH) have announced that a one-year-old horse from Wyoming, Rhode Island was euthanized on September 20 after testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)—making it the first case of EEE found in a Rhode Island horse this year. Records indicate that the horse was not fully immunized against EEE.

The news comes just one week after the DEM and HEALTH announced that both EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) were confirmed in samples of mosquitoes collected on September 9 in Rhode Island. Test results from one mosquito pool, or sample, from a trap set in Exeter was confirmed positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and three mosquito pools from traps set in Providence, East Providence and North Kingstown were confirmed positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

This year, to date in Rhode Island, seven pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for WNV and four pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE.

Other Cases of EEE in Horses

Last week, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture confirmed the state’s first reported case of EEE in a horse this year. The two-year old miniature horse was from nearby Griswold, Connecticut and had not been vaccinated against EEE or WNV.

About EEE and WNV

WNV is most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes and can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Anyone living in an area where WNV is present in mosquitoes can get infected. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33% mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors. Infants and the elderly are at greatest risk for serious complications. There is no specific treatment for EEE; care is based on symptoms.

Tips for Horse Owners

Because horses are susceptible to WNV and EEE, horse owners are reminded that safe and effective vaccines are available to protect their horses. Horse owners should check with their veterinarian to ensure that their horses are properly immunized.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Dress for protection. Wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts and socks during outdoor evening and early morning activities.
  • Use bug spray. Use mosquito repellent with no more than 30 percent DEET during outdoor activities, particularly at dawn, dusk, and evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active. Do not use repellent on infants. Instead, put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.
  • Time activities for maximum protection. If possible, minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
  • Evaluate the environment. Be sure all open windows are screened, repair any holes in screens, and fix loose screens. Residents and facility groundskeepers should immediately look for and empty standing water following heavy rain, and ensure rain gutters are clear of debris that might trap water. Remove any standing water around yards and houses by emptying planters, wading pools, trash and recycling bins, and other places where water might accumulate to reduce mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.

 

Testing

Mosquitoes are trapped every week statewide by DEM staff and tested at the RI Department of Health (HEALTH) laboratory. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis, with additional reports as necessary. Test results from mosquitoes trapped this week will be included in next week's announcement. Positive mosquito test results will generally trigger additional trapping to assess risk.

More Information

For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website, www.state.dem.ri.gov, and click on “Public Health Updates,” or go to the HEALTH website, www.health.ri.gov, and click on “E” (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), “M” (Mosquitoes), or “W” (West Nile Virus) under “Topics & Programs.”
 

 

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