Search Our Site...


EEE cases confirmed in Iberville Parish

June 26, 2009

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said two additional cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) were confirmed in Iberville Parish and is urging horse owners to vaccinate their horses.

The first EEE case, in Rapides Parish, was reported in mid-June and resulted in the horse’s death.

Strain said the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Baton Rouge identified EEE, also known as sleeping sickness, as the cause of death.

“There is no cure for Eastern equine encephalitis, but this is a very preventable disease. Unfortunately, many times horse owners wait until it’s too late,” Strain said. “All horse owners should keep their equine vaccinations up to date and consult a veterinarian if their horses are displaying any symptoms.”

Symptoms include depression, lack of coordination and walking in circles. An infected horse eventually collapses to the ground.

Equine owners with horses displaying any of these symptoms should contact their local veterinarian. Any suspected equine neuro-encephalitis cases should be reported upon suspicion of disease symptoms even if blood is not drawn.

State Veterinarian Henry Moreau said Eastern equine encephalitis has a mortality rate of 90 percent. The disease causes encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, in both horses and humans. Humans and horses contract the disease from a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird.          

Horses that have not been vaccinated should have two vaccine doses administered about two weeks apart. Once the initial vaccination has been given, an annual booster is sufficient to maintain immunity.

The Department of Agriculture and Forestry is working with local veterinarians, horse owner groups, health officials and local mosquito abatement programs to monitor the spread of the disease.