Eastern equine encephalitis cases increase in the wake of Hurricane Isaac

The aftermath of Hurricane Isaac is being felt in many ways, including burgeoning mosquito populations that spread eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), according to TheHorse.com.

The mosquitoes, which can spread EEE and other diseases such as West Nile virus, breed in stagnant water left behind by the storm. As of Tuesday, there were 43 confirmed cases of EEE and 42 confirmed cases of West Nile in horses in Louisiana, according to TheHorse.com.

That’s up from only 26 confirmed cases of EEE reported a week earlier on Sept. 4. Last year, there only were three confirmed EEE cases and zero West Nile infections in horses.

EEE symptoms include fever and neurological systems and is fatal in up to 90 percent of horses. So far this year, there have been 112 confirmed cases of EEE in the U.S. as compared to 60 for all of last year, according to the USDA.

The U.S. also is inthe grips of the biggest West Nile outbreak since the virus was first detected in the country in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prevention strategies and a strong biosecurity program are key in preventing mosquito-borne illnesses such as EEE and West Nile. For more information on both viruses and on prevention methods, read this post from Neogen’s equine and companion animal vet, Dr. Little.

For other posts regarding equine biosecurity from Dr. Little, click here.

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