TOWN OF PAMELIA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Two more horses in Jefferson County have tested positive for the deadly virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The Jefferson County Public Health Service said the horses showed symptoms and were euthanized. They were tested for the virus July 30.
Officials said the horses were living in the Perch Lake area.
On July 30, public health officials reported one horse in the town of Orleans was euthanized and tested positive for EEE.
At the time, test results were pending for 2 other horses.
It was the first time New York state had seen a case of EEE in almost a decade.
EEE is spread by the bite of a mosquito and can kill not only horses, but people as well.
There have been only 5 cases of EEE in people in New York since 1971 and all occurred in Oswego and Onondaga counties. All 5 people died.
The risk of getting EEE is highest from late July through September. People at the greatest risk of developing severe disease are those over 50 years of age and younger than 15 years of age. There is no specific treatment available for EEE.
Plans are being developed to conduct aerial spraying of the impacted area.
Officials said it's important to avoid mosquitoes, which are most active between dusk and dawn.
Protection measures include:
- Wearing shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period.
- Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 is also recommended to prevent mosquito bites. (Do not put the repellent directly onto children. Put it on your hands and apply it to your child. Do not put insect repellent on your face. Wash skin and clothing after returning indoors. Follow label directions).
- Repairing screens in your home so mosquitoes can not enter.
- Emptying and scrubbing, turning over, covering, or throwing out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. This eliminates places for mosquitoes to lay eggs.
- Horse owners should speak to their veterinarians about vaccination against EEE.