Skip to content

Health Advisory Issued




- First case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis confirmed for 2008 -

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee departments of Agriculture and Health are urging horse owners to protect their horses from mosquitoes and to review vaccination records for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and other mosquito-borne diseases including West Nile Virus (WNV).
 
“Outbreaks of viral encephalitis in horses are a seasonal occurrence due to the prevalence of mosquitoes in late summer and early fall,” said Dr. Ron Wilson, state veterinarian with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “Horse owners should be aware of symptoms of viral encephalitis and consult their local veterinarian if a horse develops any of the signs associated with this group of diseases.”   
 
Several states have reported cases of EEE in horses this season. Tennessee’s first confirmed case of 2008 was reported last week in Carroll County. EEE kills up to 90 percent of the horses infected with the virus. 
 
Another mosquito-borne disease, West Nile virus infection, has also been seen in horses from all regions of the state during the last several years. Many of the signs of EEE are the same as those described for WNV in horses and include: 

·        Decreased alertness

·        Blindness or impaired vision

·        Aimless wandering or circling

·        Head pressing

·        Inability to swallow

·        Weakness, paralysis or convulsions

 “Definitive diagnosis is important in tracking the spread of EEE and WNV infections,” said Wilson. “Horse owners should work with their local veterinarian to verify test results through laboratory analysis.”   

 Vaccines are available to protect against EEE and WNV in horses. Horse owners are encouraged to review their records and consult a veterinarian regarding immunization for these diseases. Additionally, insect repellents can be used on horses, but often these repellents have limited effectiveness. Screened stalls can also help reduce exposure of animals to mosquitoes. 
 
Humans cannot contract these viral infections directly from infected horses. However, mosquito-borne viral encephalitis does pose a public health risk, and people should take proper precautions to protect themselves. 
 
“Because there is no EEE or WNV vaccine available for humans, people should avoid mosquito bites by using EPA registered insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 and by wearing clothes that cover the arms and legs,” said Dr. Rand Carpenter, a public health veterinarian with the Department of Health. “These preventative measures are especially important during the period from evening until morning, when mosquitoes are most active, or any other time mosquitoes become active."
 
Additionally, mosquito control measures are important for disease prevention. Mosquito control should include removal of all man-made potential sources of stagnant water such as discarded tires, containers left outdoors or clogged roof gutters that can provide a place for mosquitoes to breed.   
 
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Kord Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in Nashville provides diagnostic services for livestock owners and private veterinarians. The department also offers diagnostic services now at the new West Tennessee Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory operated by the University of Tennessee at Martin in Martin, TN. For more information about EEE or other viral diseases in horses, contact the State Veterinarian’s office or Kord diagnostic laboratory at 615-837-5120. 

 

CONTACT: Tom Womack
615-837-5118
Tom.Womack@TN.gov
  

This and other news from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture can be found online at www.tennessee.gov/agriculture/news or http://www.picktnproducts.org/media.html



 

More Stories

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • Incentives added to Fall Classic’s Debut Two-Year-Old class

    The Celebration Fall Classic had added incentives to the winner of the $1000 Debut Two-Year-Old Walking Horses class on the Saturday night show schedule. The new class is for any two-year-old that has not previously shown in 2020. Read More
  • Notice WHTA Members

    The 2020 WHTA Nominating Committee is composed of Brad Beard (Chairman), Jessica Hlebak and Russ Thompson. Anyone wishing his or her name be added as a candidate will need to notify the WHTA office or a member of the Nominating Committee no later than November 9, 2019 his or her intent to run for an officer or directorship... Read More
  • Updated venue for Saturday meeting

    The Walking Horse Trainers' Association's open meeting Saturday at 1:00PM has been moved to the main area of Calsonic Arena. The move is to allow for social distancing and the WHTA strongly encourages everyone to wear a mask at the meeting. Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Gen's Lady Topaz

    Gen’s Lady Topaz was humanely laid to rest on October 24th, 2020, just one week shy of her 27th birthday. She was one of only a handful of direct Pride’s Generator mares left. Gen's Lady Topaz was the matriarch of Rushing Creek Walker’s breeding program for many years and the ambassador to any visitors. Read More
  • Walking For The Angels revises class schedule

    The Walking For The Angels Horse Show, scheduled for Saturday, November 14, has added several classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • FAST Showcase revises class schedule

    The FAST Showcase, scheduled for Friday, November 13, has added three classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • WHTA to host open meeting October 31st

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association will host an open meeting on Saturday October 31st at 1:00PM at the Hall of Fame in Calsonic Arena. The meeting will be to present details on the proposed legislative amendments and have questions from industry participants answered.  Read More
  • Obituary – John Peels

    Mr. John Luther Peels, age 84, of Shelbyville, passed away Sunday, October 25, 2020, at his home under the loving care and comfort of his family and Willow Brook Hospice... Read More
  • Online entry system available for Celebration Fall Classic

    The Celebration has opened its online entry system for the Celebration Fall Classic, scheduled for November 5-7, in Calsonic Arena. The system will be available for entry from October 26–October 30... Read More