A 4-year-old quarter horse from a private facility in Volusia County has been confirmed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The unvaccinated horse showed symptoms of inability to stand, incoordination and weakness of hind limbs earlier this month and was euthanized.
This is the first confirmed case of EEE in Florida for 2021.
In 2020, the state of Florida reported positive samples from 54 sentinel chickens, 22 horses, one deer, one duck, two sparrows, and one mosquito pool have been reported from 27 counties.
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.