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Pender Co. horse dies of EEE

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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The Pender County Health Department says a four-year-old miniature stallion has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

It's the third case of EEE reported in North Carolina so far this year and second case reported in our area. Last week the first EEE case of the year in North Carolina was reported in Brunswick County.

The Health Department says people should take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their horses.

EEE is a rare disease. In North Carolina, it is more common in the eastern part of the state than in other areas. The viral illness, transmitted by some species of mosquitoes, attacks the central nervous system, causes inflammation of the brain and can be fatal to animals and humans.

People can develop symptoms from a few days to two weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. They include rapid onset of fever and headache and can resemble a case of the flu. Survivors of EEE infections may suffer from long-term effects to the nervous system. Therapy is limited to treating the symptoms of the disease, but there is no specific cure. There is no vaccine for humans, but there is a vaccine for horses. The American Academy of Equine Practitioners recommends vaccinating horses every six months in areas where mosquitoes are active year-round.

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