MADISON, WIS. — Twenty-five cases of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) have been documented in Wisconsin since late August, and the number of confirmed cases is expected to grow.
In late September, Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt, Wisconsin state veterinarian, urged horse owners to seek veterinary care if they note symptoms like drooping eyelids and lower lip, wandering and circling, blindness, sometimes paralysis, depression or loss of appetite.
The mosquito-borne disease is thought to have a mortality rate of 90 percent or higher in infected horses. "EEE looks a lot like other diseases of the central nervous system – other strains of encephalitis, West Nile virus, equine herpes virus-1, even rabies," he says.
The last large outbreak of EEE in Wisconsin was documented in 2001 with 69 confirmed cases, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.