Michigan Horses Hit by Encephalitis

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 2 (UPI) — At least 130 Michigan horses have been stricken with Eastern equine encephalitis this year, with most dying from the disease, state agricultural officials say.

The Department of Agriculture says the encephalitis outbreak has been the worst in three decades, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. Only one case of West Nile virus has been reported in a horse this year.

The disease had been reported in 130 horses as of Sept. 30. Only five survived the disease.

Both viruses are spread from birds to horses, other animals and people by mosquitoes who drink blood from infected birds.

Dr. Steven Halstead, the state veterinarian, said vaccines can be effective in protecting horses from encephalitis. He also recommended using insect repellents, getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed and patches of brush where they hide and being especially sure to protect horses at dusk and dawn when they are most likely to bite.

With winter on the way, a hard frost will also quell mosquitoes in the state, he said.

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Categorized | Birds, Other
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