Florida reports dramatic increase in Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year

On July 3, the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported on the following: The Florida Department of Agriculture has reported the following 14 confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) occurred in June, 2018.

14 cases in just one month.


It has been a very heavy year for “Triple E” in the Sunshine state during the first half of 2018. The Florida’s Department of Health’s Arbovirus Surveillance noted that through week 26, the following has been reported:

In 2018, positive samples from one human, thirty-five horses, one mule, one donkey, one owl, one emu, four emu flocks, two mosquito pools, and seventy-seven sentinel chickens have been reported from twenty-seven counties.

This compares with the first six months of 2017 when positive samples from 5 sentinel chickens were reported from two counties–no horses, no humans.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is spread to horses and humans by infected mosquitoes, including several Culex species and Culiseta melanura.

In horses, the virus causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. General symptoms include central nervous system signs such as: head pressing, convulsions, lack of response to facial stimulation, fever above 103 degrees, ataxia, paralysis, anorexia, depression and stupor. Other symptoms may include irregular gait, teeth grinding, in-coordination, circling, and staggering. All symptoms may not be exhibited by an infected horse.

The mortality rate in horses from EEE is almost 90%.

In humans, symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.

EEE is a more serious disease than West Nile Virus (WNV) and carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore throat. There is no specific treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma.


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