(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus
announced today that the illness of a 2-year-old
quarter horse mare in Gloucester County has been
attributed to infection with Equine Eastern Encephalitis
(EEE). This is the first diagnosis of EEE, a mosquito-borne
virus, in a horse in New Jersey this year.
The horse’s owner reported that the horse became ill on July 31. The horse’s
condition steadily declined and the animal succumbed to the illness on August
2. Samples were sent to the New Jersey Diagnostic Laboratory, which confirmed
EEE. The horse was not vaccinated against the disease.
EEE is a rare but serious disease that causes an inflammation of the brain tissue.
Young horses lacking the protection afforded by vaccination are particularly
susceptible to infection. EEE has a significantly higher risk of death than West
“An effective equine vaccine for EEE has been available for many years,” said
Secretary Kuperus. “Horse owners should contact their veterinarians now
if their horses are not already up-to-date on their vaccinations against EEE.
It is important to note that the vaccine for West Nile virus does not protect
horses against EEE, or vice versa.”
In 2004, there were six confirmed cases of EEE in horses in New Jersey, with
one of them also having West Nile virus. That was down from eight confirmed cases
West Nile Virus and EEE, like other viral diseases affecting horses’ neurological
systems, must be reported to the State Veterinarian at 609-292-3965 within 48
hours. This information is essential to ensure the initiation of mosquito control
efforts to protect other horses and humans from the virus.