Local News

State's fifth case of Eastern equine encephalitis reported

Posted August 1, 2013 12:05 p.m. EDT

— Officials on Thursday confirmed North Carolina’s fifth case of Eastern equine encephalitis, a rare but serious disease that is spread to horses by mosquitoes.

A 5-year-old female quarter horse in Cumberland County was euthanized July 24, two days after showing symptoms of the disease, according to the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association. The horse was not vaccinated against the virus.

The case is the third for Cumberland County. A 4-year-old donkey died July 23, and a 16-month-old horse was euthanized July 16.

The two other cases were in Brunswick and Pender counties.

Eastern equine encephalitis can be transmitted to humans and animals from the bite of a mosquito, although people cannot transmit it to each other. One of the most severe viruses spread by mosquitoes, it causes brain inflammation, disorientation, seizures and coma.

The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association is encouraging all horse owners to make sure their animals are vaccinated for both Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile.