ROCKY POINT, N.C. (WECT) – Pender County officials say a horse that recently tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has died.
The unvaccinated two-year-old quarter horse gelding was from the Rocky Point area and tested positive for the virus on Aug. 2, according to a news release.
“We strongly recommend horse owners vaccinate their horses per their veterinarian’s guidelines but at a minimum against mosquito-borne illnesses every 6 months in southeastern NC where mosquito activity is so high,” the release stated. “Vaccination against Eastern/Western encephalitis and West Nile Virus are all very effective in preventing infection and are relatively inexpensive versus the cost of losing your horse.”
Transmission of the EEE virus is caused by bites from an infected mosquito. County officials urged horse owners to take precautions during outdoor activities when mosquitos are most active — typically dawn and dusk.
“Always wear long sleeves, long pants and use mosquito repellant to prevent bites as these viruses can also be contracted by people. Make sure to drain all standing water on your property to prevent mosquito breeding grounds,” according to the release.
While humans can be infected with EEE, such infections are rare, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Only about one case of EEE in humans is reported in North Carolina each year.
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