EEE claims second horse, and first case of West Nile found in Oneida County

By WKTV News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. - The Oneida County Health Department has confirmed the death of a horse in the Camden area in northwestern Oneida County has been attributed to Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), while officials await test results on two more affected animals.

It has been further reported that the first mosquito pool testing positive for West Nile Virus was also detected in specimens collected in the Town of Verona last week.

This marks the second horse fatality in Oneida County this year as a result of the mosquito-borne virus. In late July a horse in Westmoreland had to be euthanized after suffering neurological symptoms. Tests later confirmed the animal was infected with EEE.

Meanwhile, two more suspected cases of the disease affecting horses have been reported in western Oneida County. In those cases, the animals have been euthanized, but test results confirming Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile or other virus will not be known until early next week.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is always fatal in horses. The virus rarely affects humans, but can, in some cases, cause illness ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to brain swelling and even death.

“With the imminent cool morning and evening temperatures associated with the fall season, we expect to see a drastic decline in the mosquito population throughout Oneida County and a reduction in the threat of infections they carry,” Dr. Gayle Jones, Director of Health said. “Meanwhile, I urge residents to take all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

People are advised to limit outdoor activity, particularly during the periods of dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. You should wear long sleeves, pants tucked into your socks and apply repellant containing DEET when outdoors. Eliminate standing water such as wading pools, bird baths old tires which serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes in order to reduce the mosquito population around your property. You should also make sure all screen doors and window screens are in tact.

Jones said mosquito surveillance and testing throughout Oneida County will continue through mid-September. Only two EEE positive samples have been collected from one site in Oneida County on July 27th, while neighboring Oswego County has reported 21 positive mosquito pools from various sites. They have also reported five cases of the disease in horses, two in dogs and one human case which resulted in the tragic death of a five-year-old girl who contracted EEE.

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