Eastern Equine Encephalitis in horse reported in town of Antwerp

WATERTOWN, NY — The Jefferson County Public Health Service has been notified by the New York State Department of Health that a horse, who died in the Town of Antwerp, was positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE, Triple E). Results are pending for another horse residing in the Town of Orleans who was exhibiting similar symptoms. The last lab-confirmed positive EEE cases in Jefferson County horses occurred in 2020.

EEE is very rare but serious. Mosquitoes infected with EEE virus (EEEV) can infect people, horses and other mammals, some birds, reptiles and amphibians. About 5-10 EEE human cases are reported each year in the U.S. Five cases of EEE in people in New York State have been reported since 1971. These cases were reported in 1971, 1983, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and occurred in Oswego and Onondaga counties. All five cases died. The risk of getting EEE is highest from late July through September. People at the greatest risk of developing severe disease are those over 50 years of age and younger than 15 years of age. There is no specific treatment available for EEE.

Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. Protection measures include wearing shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period. Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 is also recommended to prevent mosquito bites. Do not put the repellent directly onto children. Put it on your hands and apply it to your child. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application. Repair screens in your home.

To keep your yard free from standing water to reduce the mosquito population near your home:

 Throw away outdoor containers, ceramic pots, or containers that hold water
 Remove all tires from your property
 Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
 Clean clogged rain gutters and make sure they continue to work properly
 Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
 Change water in bird baths at least every four days
 Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
 Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs
 Drain water from pool covers
 Use landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates

Horse owners should speak to their veterinarians about vaccination against EEE.

For more information go to jcphs.org.