La. Ag Commissioner urges vaccination after horses test positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Health

Horses stand in an enclosure at the location of a meeting between local authorities, elected officials and horse breeders whose animals have been victims of mutilation attacks in Plailly, northern France, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. Police are stymied by the macabre attacks that include slashings and worse. Most often, an ear — usually the right one — has been cut off, recalling the matador’s trophy in a bullring. Up to 30 attacks have been reported in France, from the mountainous Jura region in the east to the Atlantic coast, many this summer. (Photo by Thomas Samson, Pool via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain is urging people to vaccinate their horses after three horses in Iberville and Lafourche parishes tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

“Mosquitoes are out in force right now,” Strain said. “The hot and wet conditions exacerbated by storms such as Hurricane Laura increase the number of mosquitoes that could be carrying diseases. Like humans, horses are infected by being bitten by mosquitoes. That is why it is so important to vaccinate your horses to help prevent them from getting sick. It is not too late to do so.” 

In addition to having horses vaccinated, owners may be able to prevent their horses from contracting EEE by removing standing water where mosquitoes may breed and by using mosquito repellent that’s safe for humans and for horses.

Common signs of the potentially deadly disease include fever, loss of appetite, weakness, loss of coordination and circling, according to Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry spokesperson Veronica Mosgrove.

Although EEE primarily impacts equine species, it can also affect pigs, llamas, bats, reptiles, amphibians, rodents and humans, Mosgrove wrote.

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