COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A horse in Colleton County has tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, a viral illness that can cause inflammation of the brain.
The horse is the second to test positive for the virus in South Carolina so far this year, according to the state’s lead health agency.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control say certain birds are reservoirs for this virus, and mosquitoes that feed on these birds can carry the virus to people and other animals.
Colleton County Animal Services says owners should protect their horses by providing the proper vaccines. “Last year, two horses were euthanized because of EEE. We now have our first case in Colleton County this year,” they said.
“Horse owners are encouraged to practice preventive care for their horses as related to arbovirus diseases as cases can be prevented through effective vaccination and mosquito management strategies,” DHEC said.
Researchers say symptoms often develop anywhere between two and five days after exposure.
Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center currently provides testing for EEE and WNV at no charge thanks to an agreement with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).