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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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    Posted: August 17 2018 at 6:03am

Horses test positive for virus

Reformer staff Reformer staff
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Published on: August 16, 2018 | Last Updated: August 16, 2018 8:52 AM EDT

Two Haldimand horses have tested positive for a serious equine virus.

The horses, which are housed in the Dunnville area, tested positive earlier this month for Eastern equine encephalitis virus after showing neurological symptoms, the Haldimand-Norfolk health unit announced Wednesday.

The health unit has not had a report of a horse positive for the virus since 2009.

“This serves notice that the virus continues to circulate in the area,” the health unit said.

The virus, also known as “Triple E” or “Sleeping Sickness,” affects mostly horses and birds and is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

It also can be transmitted to humans through mosquitoes, said the health unit, noting that most people infected will not develop symptoms.

However, severe cases can cause headaches, high fevers, chills, and vomiting. The illness can then progress into disorientation, seizures and even coma.

The health unit said it has received no reports of human cases in Haldimand or Norfolk. And its mosquito surveillance program has had none of the insects test positive for the virus to date.

“With recent surveillance finding mosquitoes positive for West Nile virus and now two horses with Eastern equine encephalitis, it’s clear we shouldn’t become complacent when it comes to protecting ourselves from mosquito bites,” Kris Lutzi, senior public health inspector, said in a news release.

The health unit offered a few tips to protect residents from mosquito bites.

They include: apply insect repellent containing DEET or icardin, wear light-coloured clothing, long sleeves and pants, if possible, and remove standing water from your property.

Removing all standing water sites from your property is also a good idea for horse owners.

The health unit also suggests making sure barns have tight-fitting screens over windows and doors and using yellow incandescent or fluorescent lights because they considered less attractive to mosquitoes.

More information on Eastern equine encephalitis virus can be found online at hnhu.org or by calling 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.

Source:   https://www.simcoereformer.ca/news/local-news/horses-test-positive-for-virus
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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