Recent disease surveillance testing reveals a trio of rare equine diseases in three different Minnesota counties. Two of the diseases, Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus, are spread by mosquitoes and pose a risk to horses and people. The third disease, Equine infectious anemia, is not known to affect people, but requires infected horses to be euthanized or quarantine for life because there is no treatment or vaccine.

“Mid-July through early September is the highest risk time for EEE, WNV and other mosquito-transmitted diseases in Minnesota,” said Minnesota Department of Health Epidemiologist, Dave Neitzel. “Minnesotans can protect themselves by wearing mosquito repellents and taking other precautions outlined on the MDH website: www.health.state.mn.us/mosquitoes.”

“This is also a high-risk time of year for horses to become infected with these diseases,” said Board of Animal Health Equine Program Director, Dr. Courtney Wheeler. “We strongly encourage all horses to be vaccinated against EEE and WNV. Horse owners can take additional precautions by working with their veterinarian to evaluate their biosecurity practices, screening for disease in sick horses and reducing pest populations on their property with simple measures like draining stagnant water and applying screens to barns.”

This article was submitted by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.