Two horses in Greater Sudbury have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EE-QUINE EN-CEPH-AH-LIE-TIS) virus.
Public health Sudbury & District say these are the first reports of local horses testing positive for the virus and to date there are no reports of human illness in the service area.
While the virus is primarily found in wild birds, the virus can be transmitted to humans and horses by the bite of a mosquito that has fed on the blood of an infected bird.
There is no human vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for the infection.
The health unit advises residents to take precautions to avoid illness from mosquitoes.
Some people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop symptoms. Others will experience a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The infection can also be severe and cause the brain tissue to become inflamed (encephalitis) with symptoms including disorientation, seizures, and coma.
While the risk of being infected with Eastern equine encephalitis virus is low, the reports of the infected horses serve as an important reminder to residents to continue to take precautions to avoid illness spread by mosquitoes, as well as other vectors (carriers) such as ticks. Just like with West Nile virus, the best way to protect yourself from the virus is to prevent mosquito bites.
PHOTO: HORSES by eberhard-grossgasteiger-unsplash.com