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Alpha Mare asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

EEE is starting to worry me!?

Here is the link to the article, so credit is where credit is due:


I asked a question a while ago about vaccinating for EEE, and I recently found out from my vet that my horses were in fact vaccinated in a combo shot. My horses are outdoors 24/7. They are pasture boarded, which means that they are out during peak mosquito hours- dawn and dusk. They are fly sprayed daily. Should I still be worried? Is there anything else I can do?

This is an article from a local paper:

Five horses in Maine have died in recent weeks of mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis. State officials announced the two most recent deaths on Wednesday — one each in Unity and in the Cumberland County town of Gorham. Test results are pending for two more sick horses, one in Unity and one in the York County town of Berwick.

“These five dead horses with EEE indicate that there is a risk of people contracting the infection from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the risk of human infection from a single mosquito bite is “very low,” she said Mainers should be especially vigilant in protecting themselves and their children from now until the weather turns cold enough to kill off mosquito populations.

“Until we experience several deep frosts, it is important people take precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes,” Mills said.

Recommendations include wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and applying repellents containing DEET for extended outings, especially near wetland areas. People also should cover infant carriers with mosquito netting and clean up standing water around their homes. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk.

All five horses confirmed to have the EEE virus had not been kept up to date on their vaccines against the organism, said State Veterinarian Dr. Donald Hoenig.

“It is important for horse owners to know there is a very effective annual vaccine for EEE and they should be sure their horses are current on this vaccine,” he said.

A horse in Stetson died with EEE last week, and two other horses, in Troy and Thorndike, died with the virus earlier in August.

Mosquitoes become EEE carriers by feeding on an infected bird — partridge, quail and songbirds are the most common hosts. Mosquitoes cannot pick up the virus by feeding on an infected horse or an infected human.

Once the virus is contracted, symptoms can develop rapidly over several hours. Symptoms in humans include fever, flu-like aches and pains, headaches and seizures. In horses, EEE is nearly 100 percent fatal. In humans, with hospitalization and supportive care, the disease is about 30 percent fatal. Half of all survivors suffer permanent neurological damage.

There is no human vaccine against EEE.

Maine CDC is testing mosquito pools in Waldo County and other areas of the state to help determine the geographic range of the virus. Although EEE has been detected in East Coast states for a number of years, the recent horse cases in Maine show the virus is present farther north than it has ever been reported before, Mills said.

Maine CDC will conduct a public meeting on Eastern Equine Encephalitis at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at the new Mount View High School in Thorndike.

Update 2:

With the threat of west nile we cleaned up all standing, stagnant water on the property. We poured cooking oil into puddles (which stops larva from breathing and they die- works great). There is a junk yard down the road with thousands of junk tires, but there's nothing that can be done there. Thanks for the advice so far, Julie.

Update 3:

Yohanson- York and Cumberland Counties are counties in the state of Maine, too. You should worry about EEE in Pa. Odds are though, that you've already gotten your horses vaccinated with their spring shots, like I did, in a combination shot for EEE,WEE and some other stuff. You probably wouldn't know it as the combo goes by another name. Just ask your vet.

Thanks for the answers so far. I have done quite a bit to reduce mosquitoes and other nuisances. I think I'm alright, it's just scary with it all so close to home. The fatality rate of EEE in non-vaccinated horses is near 100%, and as you all know, vaccinations don't protect all who get it and usually only lessen the effects. I live in Waldo County and go to college in Cumberland County, so most of the cases are extremely close. I think I'm just hyper-aware now or something and worried about my critters :P

Update 4:

I personally pefer vegetable oil to motor oil or other toxins as it kills the larvae just as dead and doesn't harm wildlife, plants or people. I recommend it to people all the time!

Update 5:

Starlight- thanks for the response. Maine actually has a law against keeping coy and goldfish outdoors. I know, it's silly, but it's true! I have tried algae eaters in the tanks, but that didn't work so well. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

4 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The best way to combat the disease is to get rid of mosquitoes. Make sure you have no standing water on your property so that the mosquitoes can't lay eggs. If you do have standing water that you can't get rid of, put mosquito poison into it... they actually make some mosquito poison that's 100% safe for horses and domestic animals to drink, so in case one of your horses accidentally gets into it, it'll be ok! And I'm sure you already do this, but just to make sure, clean your water troughs/buckets regularly just to avoid any larvae in there.

    If you put flysheets on them, the mosquitoes wouldn't be able to bite their bodies... but they could still go after the legs and underbellies, so flysheets aren't a perfect defense.

    If your horses are vaccinated you really don't have much to worry about. As the article said, the horses who got it weren't vaccinated.

    There's a link on about mosquito control. The article is actually about west nile, but since EEE and WNV are caused by the same carrier, I think you could use a lot of the tips in there.

  • 1 decade ago

    As long as your horses are vaccinated, then I don't think you have much to worry about. Taking precautions like getting rid of standing water is a good idea, but otherwise, I would just use your judgment and common sense about this. If the horses are out all night every night, I would give them a good spray with something like Deep Woods OFF- and you can use a roll on version of that product around their eyes, ears, and the sensitive parts of their faces. OFF makes the skin horse's skin taste bad, and the mosquitoes will leave the animals alone- and it's also one of the only products I have ever seen which will repel the giant horseflies that come out at this time of year. Those flies are more than a nuisance- they can be downright dangerous, because they cause horses to kick, rear, and buck because the bites they give are so painful. We call those flies the B-52 bombers where I live, and with good reason. I know that OFF is pricey- but it may be the only really effective product out there, and you'll only need to use it for a few more weeks at the most.

    I have never heard of putting cooking oil in water to kill mosquito larvae-but it sounds like it might work. When I lived in CA, the solution used there was to keep goldfish in the water troughs. Goldfish eat algae and insect larvae, including mosquito larvae, and are quite effective at keeping the horse troughs clean. That might be one solution you could consider, at least until the weather gets cold ( which will happen quickly in Maine, winter always comes early to that part of the country, especially in the mountainous areas of it) and the water gets cold enough to freeze. As for the junkyard down the road, has anyone atttempted to track down the owners of the property, and reported them to the health department and the other civil authorities? Having old tires full of water like that is a public health hazard, and these people can be fined and cited, and forced to clean up their mess or face further penalties. You, and the other horse owners in the area, have a right to have your animals in a place which is free of obvious hazards like this one, and the property owners have an obligation to clean up the mess so it doesn't endanger the health and safety of animals and people alike. Standing water is a health hazard, plain and simple, and someone needs to light a fire under these people and get them to realize this.

    I hope this gives you some food for thought.

    Source(s): I'm a horse owner and horse professional who lives in DE, and we have to deal with many of these same issues too.
  • 1 decade ago

    We've got it down here in Hampton VA too. though the health dept isn't alerting the public yet. Your horses have the shot, use bug spray on them.. I'm running a automatic sprayer right now 24/7

    the Air wick automatic sprayer you get in walmart for $9 will hold the Country Vet fly and Mosquito can.. And you can set it to go off every 9, 18 or 30 minutes.. Mine is set on 9 so a can lasts about 3-4 weeks, Its up under the barn eve's where they like to stand in the evenings.

    Be doubly sure to use spray on yourself, and do it well..use something with DEET in it. those little fan things DO NOT work against mosquito's unless your sitting still and there is NO breeze..I swear insecticide has become my new perfume fragrance since I got word that the Mosquito control chickens down here in tidewater came back positive for EEE

    add,, just did some more checking. 5 positive cases in horses, 1000 pools of mosquito's, and 30 sentinel chickens, possibly 2 human infections. Yup the fragrance dejour is Deep woods OFF

  • 1 decade ago

    Wait, wait, wait.

    That article said Maine but then it said Cumberland and York County?

    Are they talking about PA to? Cause those counties are in PA. I actually live in York County.

    I agree with the other answers about what to do, but I think I need to worry now!

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