N.C. – Mosquito-borne eastern
equine encephalitis has infected one human and six horses this summer in
North Carolina, state health and agricultural officials report.
Also known as EEE or ‘Triple E,’ the virus can cause inflammation of the
brain. While there is a vaccine for horses, there is none for humans.
State Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health officials
noted there was a single case affecting a human reported in North
Carolina. State Agriculture Department officials said seven cases
affecting horses were reported in Brunswick, Hoke, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson,
Sampson and Wake counties. North Carolina averages one case in humans and
10 in horses every year.
“Triple E is not communicable between horses and people,”
said State Public Health Veterinarian Carl Williams, DVM. “It is
transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. While Triple E
is very rare in humans, when it does occur it is a serious illness, so it
is very important to take protective measures against mosquito bites.”
There is no human vaccine for EEE. Symptoms typically appear four to
10 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito and may include
high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore throat. Severe cases
can involve encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. Those at
highest risk of contracting EEE live in or visit woodland habitats, and
people who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities.
If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact
your local medical provider.
“Fortunately, there are preventive measures that can be taken to reduce
the chance of infection in both people and horses,” said Dr. Mike Neault,
Director of Livestock Operations, N.C. Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services. “Reducing breeding grounds for mosquitoes on your
property is one of the most important preventative measures for humans
and animals. Vaccines are available for horses and both the American
Association of Equine Practitioners and the NCDA&CS recommend equine
owners work with their veterinarian to ensure their animals are kept
current on their vaccinations against Triple E.”
Take steps to reduce habitat for pests including mosquitoes and reduce
exposure to them.
Tip and Toss:
Reduce mosquito breeding
opportunities by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters,
buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and
birdbaths at least weekly.
Be sure to tightly secure
screens on all openings on rain barrels used for water conservation.
Clean up any trash or
leaves that may be around your home or in rain gutters.
exposure and use preventive measures:
Use mosquito repellent
that contains DEET (or equivalent) on exposed skin and wear clothing
treated with permethrin, a synthetic insecticide used against
Mosquito-proof your home
by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep
mosquitoes outside, and use air conditioning if you have it.
About the N.C. Division of Public Health Epidemiology,
Communicable Disease Branch
The Division of Public Health Epidemiology, Communicable Disease Branch
works with the public, local health departments and other public health
agencies, healthcare professionals, educators, businesses, communities
and healthcare facilities to protect and improve the health of people in
North Carolina through disease detection, tracking, investigation,
control, education, prevention and care activities.
About the NC
Department of Agriculture, Livestock operations program
In order to accomplish their objectives, Animal Health Programs
cooperates with USDA-Veterinary Services and USDA-Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service by conducting tests and inspections to detect diseases
and regulate the intrastate movement of animals. When infection appears,
appropriate quarantines are placed and actions are taken to limit or stop
the spread of disease and to control or eliminate the infection from the
herd. Animal Health Programs, Livestock Section, also receives support
from private veterinarians who are officially accredited to test and
certify an animal's health status. They depend on the close cooperation
of other state agencies, the veterinary profession, and the livestock