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Eastern Equine Encephalitis Is A Real Threat in North Carolina

The Greensboro, Winston Salem, High Point area of North Carolina is home to many families and farms that have horses. Whether they are used for pleasure or a part of your livelihood, our equine friends are a part of the culture of the Triad region of North Carolina.

We have Horse Clubs in our area like Piedmont Saddle Club and Legacy Saddlebreds that provide training, entertainment, and promote equine welfare in our area and have concerns about the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis or EEE.

What is EEE?

EEE is a viral disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes. A mosquito feeds off birds infected with the virus. The disease is carried by the mosquito and is transmitted to their offspring. It can then infect other mammals through the mosquito bite. Horses and people are considered a “dead end host”, which means once infected horses cannot infect other horses or people. The same goes for people who become infected with EEE. We cannot transmit the disease once infected.

Symptoms of EEE

Symptoms of EEE in equine, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules include a loss of coordination, a staggering gait, confusion, and refusal to eat or take water. These symptoms become evident 4 to 10 days after the onset of infection. Later stages of the disease can include seizures and in 48-72 hours usually death. Symptoms in humans include mild flu-like symptoms to sore throat and severe headache. In some people there are no symptoms at all until the disease progresses to affect the central nervous system which can lead to seizures, coma and even death. Because the symptoms in humans are very flu-like, it makes it very hard to diagnose.

Preventing EEE

The best way to avoid you or your horse getting the disease is to practice safe mosquito practices around the house and the barn. This includes keeping debris and brush cleaned up. Avoid standing water, and refill your horse’s water trough on a regular basis. For people, use an insect repellent on your person and clothes, wear light colored clothing, and avoid outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are the most active.

Mosquito Squad of the Triad offers a barrier treatment program that is highly effective mosquito control all season long. The spray treats areas on a recurring basis throughout the season at scheduled times. The product is great for people, horses and domestic animals in preventing mosquito bites and the nuisance and illness they can bring.

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