Horse owners told to vaccinate their animals Equine encephalitis death reported in Va.

September 03, 1996|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

State agriculture officials are urging Maryland horse owners to have their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis after the death of an unvaccinated horse on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Although primarily a disease of horses and birds, the mosquito-borne illness can be transmitted to humans.

The EEE virus was detected recently in mosquitoes trapped in Worcester County and earlier this summer in chickens set out as detectors in southern Delaware.

"Because of the wet summer, mosquitoes have been particularly prevalent this season on the entire Eastern Shore," said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Lewis R. Riley. Spraying for mosquitoes has been stepped up this year.

Riley reminded owners of horses vaccinated last spring that it is time for booster shots.

Although EEE remains rare in people, any case usually is fatal. "People who frequent the outdoors should take adequate protection against mosquito bites," said Cyrus Lesser, chief of Maryland's mosquito control section. He recommended insect repellent, hats, long pants and long-sleeve shirts.

Pub Date: 9/03/96

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