Third Suffolk horse tests positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

vdacsA 2-year-old Thoroughbred Filly from Suffolk was euthanized after showing severe neurological symptoms, and subsequently tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

The case is the third in the Suffolk area in recent weeks, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

VDACS encourages horse owners to speak with their veterinarians about vaccinating their horses for West Nile Virus and EEE. The mortality rate for WNV is 30 percent and up to 90 percent for EEE.

Vaccinations are effective for six to 12 months.

Sometimes called sleeping sickness, EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to ten days for signs of the disease to appear.

For more information on how to control mosquitoes around horses, please visit

Horse owners may also contact the VDACS Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483 or consult their local veterinarian.

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