A 1-year old, unvaccinated female donkey located in Duplin County, North Carolina. has been the fourth confimed case of EEE in 2018 for the state.
EEE is a mosquito-borne disease that is preventable in equines through vaccination. This is the first case of EEE that North Carolina has seen this year.
The disease causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord and is usually fatal. Symptoms of EEE include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take 3- 10 days for signs of the disease to appear.
“If your horse exhibits any symptoms of EEE, contact your veterinarian immediately,” said State Veterinarian Doug Meckes. “It is imperative that horse owners keep their vaccines current, talk to your veterinarian about vaccinating them as soon as possible against EEE and West Nile virus.”
The vaccinations initially require two shots, 30 days apart, for horses, mules and donkeys that have no prior vaccination history. Meckes recommends a booster shot every six months in North Carolina because of the state’s prolonged mosquito season.