Horse in York County euthanized after contracting rare mosquito-borne disease

Horse in York County euthanized after contracting rare mosquito-borne disease

State health officials want MA residents and their visitors to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites during their Labor Day weekend activities.

Edwards reiterated that the disease is extremely rare in humans, but for the few people who do get it, the symptoms are severe and often fatal.

One case has been confirmed in MI this year, and officials there are investigating other possible human infections. "The peak time for transmission of mosquito-borne illness extends through September here in MA". But the state health department says the virus has been found in 48 mosquito samples in 11 counties, the most the Garden State has seen by this point in the season in seven years.

Yesterday, state public health officials confirmed four cases of EEE in horses from Holliston, Medfield, Brookfield, and Granby, raising the risk for those communities from "high" to "critical".

This week's updated risk levels are updated largely because of the virus's detection in additional horses in MA, rather than confirmed human cases, but health department officials urge people to take their warnings seriously. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

The Eastern equine encephalitis virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. From wearing long sleeves to using DEET-containing repellent, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting a mosquito bite. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.

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Install or Repair Screens.

Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets, barrels, and other containers.

"This is a serious disease and the most effective way to prevent your horses from getting EEE is to have the animals vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian", said Dr. Forshey.

Information including all West Nile virus and EEE positive results can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

According to the Bureau of Infectious Diseases and Laboratory Sciences, about half of those who contract EEE die while most survivors suffer with permanent disability.

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