The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has reported a confirmed Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) case in a eight year old quarter horse in Polk County.
The horse presented with symptoms on April 24 and was humanely euthanized due to poor prognosis.
So far in 2019, Florida health officials have reported EEE in eight horses, one emu, and 24 sentinel chickens have been reported from 11 counties.
No human infections have been reported.
EEE is a mosquito-transmitted disease that is much more severe than West Nile Virus (WNV). The mortality rate in horses from WNV is reported at around 30%, while the rate for EEE is almost 90%. Infected mosquitoes are the primary source for EEE.
The virus causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. General symptoms include central nervous system signs such as: head pressing, convulsions, lack of response to facial stimulation, fever above 103 degrees, ataxia, paralysis, anorexia, depression and stupor. Other symptoms may include irregular gait, teeth grinding, in-coordination, circling, and staggering. All symptoms may not be exhibited by an infected horse.