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More Education Needed to Prevent Vector Borne Diseases in Horses
Date:8/28/2013

Columbia, South Carolina (PRWEB) August 28, 2013

As the confirmed cases of EEE in horses continues to increase this year, veterinarians all across South Carolina are working hard to control and prevent these fatal vector borne diseases.

Totals for confirmed cases of EEE hit 30, and just last week in Lancaster County, the first case of a horse with West Nile Virus was confirmed. These vector borne diseases have proven to be extremely dangerous with a fatality rate of 90-95%.

The EEE virus is carried and transmitted through a freshwater swamp mosquito, Culiseta Melanura, also referred to as the black-tailed mosquito. After the mosquito contracts EEE, it can take 2-3 days for them to feed on horses, birds, or humans and pass the virus along to them.

“Horses that are sick with EEE don't get sick from other horses that have EEE, they get sick from mosquitoes that are infected with EEE,” said Adam Eichelberger, DVM, Diplomate ACT, Clemson University director of animal health programs, and member of the board of directors of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians.

“Preventative vaccines are very effective. Horses that have never been vaccinated or have an unknown vaccine history will have to be boostered four to six weeks after the first vaccine,” added Eichelberger. “The series of injections is required to be effective and protective. In South Carolina, we recommend that horses are vaccinated twice yearly (every six months) for Eastern-Western equine encephalomyelitis and West Nile virus. These vaccines usually come in single doses or multiple combinations known as EWT, EWT/WN or EWT/FR. The 'T' in the abbreviation is short for tetanus, which is also a very important vaccine for horses.”

Horses will usually show signs of EEE within 2-5 days of being infected with the virus. Symptoms may include depression or apprehension, weakening of the legs, loss of appetite, severe fever,
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