What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis?
Eastern Equine Encephalitis also known as the sleeping sickness, is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It is transmitted by mosquitoes.
Clinical Signs: Clinical signs and symptoms of eastern equine encephalitis include the following:
- Depression and anorexia; initially without a fever when initially infected
- Moderate to high fever
- Lack of appetite
- Neurologic signs- onset of neurologic disease is frequently sudden and progressive
- Periods of hyperexcitability, apprehension and/or drowsiness
- Fine tremors and fasciculations of the face and neck muscles
- Cranial nerve paralysis-facial paralysis and weakness of the tongue are very common
- Head tilt, droopy lip, muzzle deviation
- Weakness, ataxia, and incoordination
- Complete paralysis of one or more limbs
Diagnosis: Diagnosis is made by a veterinarian by measuring titers in serum (a component of whole blood) using an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) or, less commonly, with PCR or CSF (cerebrospinal fluid).
Treatment: There is no cure for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Supportive care is administered in horses which show clinical signs.
Prevention: Vaccination for EEE is highly effective and is recommended as a core vaccination.