Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a highlyfatal mosquito-borne disease, continues to pose a significant threat to the equine community. In a recent unsettling event, two cases of EEE in Florida were reported, bringing the total number of EEE cases in the state in 2024 to six. These unfortunate events signify the importance of taking preventative measures and prioritizing research and education about this deadly disease.

EEE: A Serious Mosquito-Borne Disease

EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that EEE has a mortality rate of approximately 33% for humans and 90% for horses.

EEE is caused by the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, which is transmitted to horses through the bite of an infected mosquito. When horses are infected, the disease progresses rapidly and in severe cases, euthanasia may be the only option. The recent cases of EEE in Florida are a stark reminder of the real and ongoing threat that this disease poses.

Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC): A Vital Resource

The non-profit organization Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) has been instrumental in providing open information access about infectious equine diseases like EEE. Their "EDCC Health Watch" program routinely provides updates on incidents like the two recent EEE cases in Florida. By staying informed about infectious equine diseases, horse owners can take proactive steps that can go a long way in protecting their horses and preventing the spread of the disease.

Preventative Measures Against EEE

The alarming news of the two horses in Florida testing positive for EEE calls for preventive action against mosquito-borne diseases. Some of the recommended precautions include eliminating standing water around horse facilities, applying insect repellents, and ensuring that horses are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Vaccination: A Shot at Prevention

While there is no known cure for EEE, there are commercially available licensed vaccines that can provide a measure of protection against the disease. However, it's important that more research is undertaken to understand the effectiveness of these vaccines and develop more efficient strategies for prevention and treatment.

Looking Ahead: Prioritizing Research and Education

As the equine industry continues to grapple with EEE, prioritizing research and education to better understand this deadly disease is paramount. It's critical that we work together to develop effective strategies for prevention and control. This united effort will go a long way in reducing the risk of EEE transmission and in protecting the well-being of the horses that we care so deeply about.

In conclusion, the recent cases of EEE in Florida serve as an urgent reminder of the seriousness of this disease. Through collective effort, it's possible to safeguard our equine companions and ensure that they live healthy, fulfilled lives. After all, our horses aren't just pets, they're part of our family.

References: The Horse website, Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) website.