Thursday, May 22, 2008
Eastern Encephalitis reported in St Johns County
There is a report on Jacksonville.com of a horse with Eastern Equine Encephalitis in St Johns county. EEE also called sleeping sickness ,like the other encephalitis viruses (Western,Venezuelan and West Nile) are transmitted by mosquitoes . The reservoir for the virus are birds. Once bitten by mosquitoes the virus is then transmitted to any animal that the mosquito chooses to feed on next. Horses are acutely susceptible to the encephalitis viruses and are at increased risk since they are outside (without the benefit of clothes) most of the day. Humans in the nudist colony would be equally susceptible. Since there is now a positive case we know that the virus is in the local bird population
and horses are at risk. The vaccine is very effective at preventing infection but the peak immunity is only up to 4 months. This means that all horses should have a booster vaccine this summer, 4 months after their previous vaccine. This should protect them until their fall vaccinations. The WNV vaccine has been shown to be protective for 1 year and shouldn't require a booster.