Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties was notified Thursday of a horse in Menominee County that had died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The horse became ill Oct. 3.
This is the first confirmed animal case of EEE in Menominee County this year. No other animal or human cases of EEE have been confirmed in Menominee County at this time, however, 35 confirmed cases in horses in sixteen Michigan counties have been reported to date. Because conditions are favorable for EEE-carrying mosquitoes during the fall, people are asked to take precautions against mosquito bites.
EEE cannot be spread between animals or between animals and humans, but humans can get EEE through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most (95-96%) cases of human EEE do not cause any symptoms, and less than 1% develop serious illness. However, EEE is potentially serious and symptoms include fever, weakness and muscle and joint pain. More severe illness can cause swelling of the brain and surrounding tissues. Anyone can be affected by EEE, but persons older than 50 and younger than 15 years old are at greatest risk for developing severe disease.
To protect horses and other domestic animals (such as dogs, sheep, and goats), measures could include the following:
■ Talking to a veterinarian about vaccinating horses against EEE.
■ Placing livestock in a barn under fans (as mosquitos are not strong flyers) during peak mosquito activity from dusk to dawn.
■ Using an insect repellant on an animal that is approved for the species.
■ Eliminating standing water on the property — i.e., fill in puddles, repair eaves, and change the water in buckets and bowls at least once a day.
■ Contacting a veterinarian if an animal shows signs of the illness: fever and stumbling, which can progress to being down and struggling to stand.
More information about EEE can be found at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website: https://bit.ly/3lGQC3k.
Additionally, domestic horses can be vaccinated for EEE through a veterinarian. If someone sees an animal that is exhibiting strange behavior or appears sick, avoid handling or consuming the animal and visit https://secure1.state.mi.us/ORS/Home to report the observation.
For questions regarding sick domestic animals such as horses, livestock, or pets, people may contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture at 517-373-1077.