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Animal Health Experts Warn Horse Owners About Early Danger Signs of Widespread Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Date:9/7/2010

NEW YORK, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Animal health experts warn that fatal cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile are being reported in numerous states, even in areas where activity has been low for several years.  This follows a rise in the early warning signs of mosquito-borne diseases that include Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile and Western Equine Encephalitis.  This doesn't bode well for either horses or humans.

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To help prevent the spread of additional cases, Pfizer Animal Health and other health organizations are strongly encouraging horse owners and veterinarians to follow the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) guidelines for vaccinations against mosquito-borne diseases.

"If horses aren't vaccinated, this situation could become much worse," says Kevin Hankins, DVM, MBA, Equine Veterinary Services at Pfizer Animal Health.

States like Florida that monitor the development of mosquito-borne diseases through sentinel chickens are seeing an upsurge in the detection of Eastern Equine Encephalitis across the state, and in many areas that are not usually affected.  This is considered to be a serious warning that unvaccinated horses from across the country are at risk for contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses, particularly West Nile and Western Equine Encephalitis.

"Historically, we've seen Eastern Equine Encephalitis restricted to the south and southeast parts of the country," says Julie Wilson, DVM Diplomate ACVIM at the University of Minnesota.  "But we're now seeing many cases reported in northern regions that include Michigan, Massachusetts and up into Maine."  In addition, officials at the Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office have recently confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in Kentucky in 2010 in a mare with no history of immunization against the disease. California has also reported the number of West Nile cases to have more than doubled from 2009.  

The American Association of Equine Practitioners says that Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus are considered core vaccinations for horses, along with tetanus and rabies.  Though annual vaccinations should happen in early spring, the AAEP also recommends boosters after five or six months.

Pfizer Animal Health offers a trusted line of vaccines, including WEST NILE-INNOVATOR®, to help protect against West Nile virus.  In addition, the Mosquito Shot ™ (WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® + EWT) helps protect against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV) in a single vaccine. All Pfizer Animal Health equine vaccines are backed by an Immunization Support Guarantee.  Pfizer Animal Health will support reasonable diagnostic and treatment costs up to $5,000 if a horse properly vaccinated by a veterinarian with one of its antigens contracts the corresponding equine disease (EEE, WEE, WNV, Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE), Tetanus or Influenza).

"Given the activity we're seeing in the northern states for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and for West Nile Virus across the country," says Maureen Long, DVM PhD., Fern Audette Associate Professor in Equine Studies at the University of Florida and noted West Nile Virus researcher, "all horse owners within the United States should work with their veterinarians to make sure their vaccine strategies are appropriate."

Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world™

At Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), we apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life.  We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines for people and animals.  Our diversified global health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products.  Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time.  Consistent with our responsibility as the world's leading biopharmaceutical company, we also collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world.  For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.  To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.

Pfizer Animal Health invests more in research and development – $300+ million annually – than any other animal health company. Broadened by the acquisition of Fort Dodge Animal Health, the Pfizer Animal Health industry-leading U.S. equine product portfolio now includes a wide range of biologics, parasiticides and sedatives/analgesics. To learn more about our commitments to animal health, please visit us at www.pfizeranimalhealth.com.

Additional Resources:

Disease Maps 2010. U.S. Department of the Interior. U.S. Geological Survey.  Available at:  http://diseasemaps.usgs.gov/eee_us_veterinary.html.  Accessed August 31, 2010.

Bronson Urges Vaccinations for Horses As EEE Cases Rise. Foster Folly News. 27 July, 2010.  Available at: http://www.fosterfollynews.com/news/2010July26BronsonUrgesVaccinationsForHorsesAsEeeCasesRise.php. Accessed August 31, 2010.

Latest West Nile Virus Activity in California. California West Nile Virus Website. 30 August, 2010. Available at: http://www.westnile.ca.gov/. Accessed September 1, 2010.


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