A 4-year-old Atlantic County mare is the first reported case of eastern equine encephalitis, a serious mosquito-borne illness in horses, this year in the state, the Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.
The mare had not been vaccinated against the disease, the department said in a news release. It was euthanized Sept. 8.
The department did not specify where in the county the horse was.
EEE causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death in horses than West Nile virus. EEE infections in horses are not a significant risk factor for human infection, the department said.
In general, most regions in New Jersey have reported mosquito populations below the running five-year average, the department said. Livestock owners are strongly encouraged to vaccinate against EEE, West Nile and other mosquito-borne diseases. Effective equine vaccines for EEE and West Nile are available commercially. Horse owners should contact their veterinarians if their horses are not up to date on their vaccinations.
EEE and West Nile virus must be reported to the state veterinarian at 609-671-6400 within 48 hours of diagnosis. The New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory is available to assist with EEE and West Nile testing and can be reached at 609-406-6999 or via email at email@example.com.