OCEAN COUNTY – Two county horses are among
five new cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the state according to the New
Jersey Dept. of Agriculture.
Ten cases of the virus have been diagnosed
this year and the last five were diagnosed within the last two weeks.
The latest cases involve a 4-year old gelding
and a gelding of unknown age in Ocean County, an 18-year-old gelding horse in
Morris County, a 4-month old gelding in Salem County, and a 1-year-old filly in
None of these horses were vaccinated for EEE
and had to be euthanized. The 10 cases in the state include nine horses and one
Three other Ocean County horses, including a
12-year-old mare, and one horse in Monmouth County have also tested positive
for EEE and were each euthanized over the summer.
NJ Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said,
“as more cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis are reported, we strongly
encourage horse owners to check their records to verify that their animals are
protected from this disease, or to know if vaccination is needed. Animals that
have been vaccinated are much less likely to contract deadly diseases such as
Eastern Equine Encephalitis. It is the most effective strategy and equine
vaccines are available commercially.
The virus has been described as causing
inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death
in horses and camelids than West Nile Virus infection.
West Nile Virus is a viral disease that
affects horses’ and camelids’ neurological system. The disease is transmitted by a mosquito
EEE cycles between birds and mosquitoes with
horses, camelids and humans being incidental hosts.
Virus infections in horses and alpacas are
not a significant risk factor for humans because horses and camelids (like
humans) are considered “dead-end” hosts for the virus.
Owners of horses and alpacas are advised to
contact their veterinarians if their animals are not already up-to-date on
their vaccinations against both EEE and WNV.
For information about EEE, visit the NJ Dept. of Agriculture at: nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/ah/diseases/diseaseworksheets.html
EEE and West Nile virus, like other viral
diseases affecting horses’ neurological system, must be reported within 48
hours of diagnosis to the state veterinarian at 609-671-6400.
The New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic
Laboratory is available to assist with EEE and WNV testing and can be reached
at 609-406-6999 or via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.