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Virus from mosquito detected on Ontario County horse

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FARMINGTON, N.Y. (WROC) – The Ontario County Public Health received notice that a 1-year-old horse tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This is the first time EEE has been documented in a mammal in Ontario County.

Ontario County Public Health is working with the New York State Department of Health and Agriculture to notify horse owners, veterinarians, and the public.

Enhanced surveillance for EEE is underway in the county.

EEE is caused by a virus transmitted by a certain type of mosquito. Humans rarely become infected, but if they do, the illness is serious and can be fatal due to brain inflammation.

Ontario County Public Health said EEE is not transmissible person-to-person, horse-to-horse, or horse-to-human.

Horse owners should be alert to any symptoms in their animals. Symptoms include changes in gait, fever, inability to get up, and refusal to eat. Contact a veterinarian if these symptoms occur.

Horse owners should minimize mosquito exposure by frequently changing water in troughs and buckets rather than using standing water sources.

There is no human vaccine for EEE, so preventing mosquito bites is important.

Horse owners are advised to closely monitor containers, tires, gutters, pools, hot tubs, and birdbaths. Furthermore, make sure window and door screens fit properly and are in good condition.

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