Arkansas reports cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in horses

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FILE – In this March 10, 2021, file photo, two Salt River wild horses kick up dust as they arrive at a site for emergency feeding run by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group near Coon Bluff in the Tonto National Forest near Mesa, Ariz. Federal land managers say they’re stepping up protections to guard against the illegal resale of wild horses and burros adopted from the government for slaughter after they’ve been captured on U.S. lands but mustang protection advocates say the Bureau of Land Management needs to do more. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Health says Arkansas has recently reported cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in horses, which indicates the risk is present in mosquitoes.

The Arkansas Department of Health says the disease was found in Pulaski County.

EEE is fatal 70 to 90% of the time in horses. EEE is rare in humans but can become infected when mosquitoes who have fed on previously infected animals then feed on humans.

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop symptoms. Those that do can experience headaches, chills, fever, malaise, joint and muscle pain. This can progress to serious neurological symptoms such as drowsiness, seizures, and coma and even death.

The Arkansas Department of Health is stressing the importance of taking precautions against ticks and mosquitoes and the diseases they can carry. Whether in their own backyard or on a trip, Arkansans should protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases.

Horse and large animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against the virus and clean out watering sources, such as buckets and troughs, every 3-4 days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.

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