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Sept. 1, 2010

Second Horse Dies of EEE in Oswego County

Oswego County Public Health Director Dr. Dennis Norfleet said this afternoon that a horse in the Town of Albion has succumbed to Eastern equine encephalitis. It is the second horse to test positive for the disease this year in Oswego County.

"This indicates that the virus has moved into the north-central part of Oswego County," said Dr. Norfleet. "We also continue to collect positive mosquito pools from the Central Square and Toad Harbor areas. Infected mosquitoes pose a threat to humans and horses. People need to be very careful about limiting their exposure to mosquitoes."

People should use insect repellents when they are outside, and limit the amount of exposed skin, especially between dusk and dawn. They can reduce the mosquito population around their homes by emptying pails, swimming pool covers, flower pots and other containers of standing water around the home and yard.

The County Health Department strongly advises Oswego County residents to:

  • Use insect repellents according to label instructions.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt if you are outdoors for long periods of time, and when mosquitoes are most active, between dusk and dawn.
  • Replace or repair broken screens.

"Insect repellents that contain DEET are effective but should be used with caution," said Dr. Norfleet.

Veterinarians recommend that horses be vaccinated against EEE. The chance of infection is much lower for EEE-vaccinated horses than for non-vaccinated horses. The symptoms of EEE in horses vary greatly, ranging from barely noticeable to signs such as staggering, blindness, and unconsciousness. In horses showing visible signs of disease, 50 to 90 percent of cases may be fatal.

Minimizing standing water and changing water in horse troughs at least twice a week can help discourage mosquito breeding.

The Oswego County Health Department is in close communication with the state health department in monitoring the situation. Any decision regarding additional spraying against mosquitoes will depend on the results of continued monitoring and consultation with the state health department.

For more information, call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3564 or visit the New York State Department of Health web site at http://www.nyhealth.gov/diseases/communicable/eastern_equine_encephalitis/fact_sheet.htm

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