(WFRV) – The Calumet County Public Health Department reported that a horse tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
According to officials, this is the first confirmed case of EEE in a horse in Calumet County this year. The EEE virus spreads to humans, horses and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes can get the EEE virus by feeding on infected birds.
The virus reportedly does not spread person to person or from animals to humans, but solely from the mosquitoes. Calumet County Public Health says that the EEE positive horse confirms that there are mosquitoes in the area that can spread the virus to people and other animals.
Many people that get infected with the virus do not get sick, but those who do, it can become severe resulting in encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), disorientation, seizures, coma or death. There is no specific vaccine or treatment for EEE available for people.
The symptoms of EEE infection in horses are:
- Loss of appetite
- Drooping eyelids and lower lip
Horse owners can reportedly get their horses vaccinated against EEE.
Calumet County Health provided some tips for residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites including:
- Apply an insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to exposed skin and clothing
- Before heading outside, treat clothing with permethrin, but not apply permethrin directly to skin
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activites that happen during the evening or early morning hours as that is when mosquitoes are most active
- Wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outside
- Make sure window and door screens are intact and tightly fiited
- Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by removing stagnant water
- Turn over wheelbarrows, kiddie pools, buckets and small boats when not in use
- Change the water in bridbaths and pet dishes at least every three days
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers
- Trim or mow tall grass, weeds and vines
No EEE cases in people have been reported in Wisconsin in 2021, but there were two cases in 2020.
For more information visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ website.