Home > News > Press Releases
2-Year-Old Horse in Gloucester County Succumbs to Disease
For Immediate Release: August 9, 2005 Contact:

Jeff Beach

(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 Nile infection.

“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 in 2003.

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.