CLEMSON (WCSC) - A veterinarian confirmed two cases of a serious illness that can kill horses and affect humans in South Carolina, according to Clemson University.
The Eastern Equine Encephalitis, EEE, is spread by mosquito bites and experts say nine out of 10 horses infected with the virus die.
A horse that died in Darlington County and a miniature donkey that died in Horry County both tested positive for the disease.
"Horse owners should check with their veterinarian to be sure their horses' vaccinations are up to date against both EEE and West Nile Virus," Boyd Parr, state veterinarian and director of Clemson University Livestock-Poultry Health, said. "Vaccination is especially important in our coastal counties."
Symptoms usually develop in horses from two to five days after exposure. The symptoms include stumbling, circling, head pressing, depression or apprehension, weakness of legs, partial paralysis, the inability to stand, muscle twitching or death, according to a release from Clemson.
In 2013, 48 of the 49 horses confirmed to have been infected with EEE died from it, and South Carolina led the nation in EEE cases.
EEE is rare in humans, however, according to the Centers Disease Control, whose website states that only a few cases are reported in the United States each year.
The CDC says humans can reduce their risk of infection by using insect repellent and protective clothing when outside or staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active. In humans, the mortality rate is 33%, the site states.
More information on the CDC site: http://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/