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Atlantic County Horse Euthanized
For Immediate Release: October 18, 2007
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today announced the state’s first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) for 2007 has occurred in Atlantic County.

A 6-year-old gelding registered positive on a presumptive test for EEE on October 4 and was euthanized on October 5.  The horse had been vaccinated for the mosquito-borne infection in April. 

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is one of two mosquito-borne diseases, along with West Nile virus, which New Jersey horse owners are urged to guard against. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare but serious disease that causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death than West Nile virus infection.

The state’s first case of West Nile virus in a horse was reported two weeks ago in Ocean County. A 21 year old non-pregnant mare was euthanized on September 27 after becoming ill on September 26.  That horse was not vaccinated for West Nile Virus. 

Though fewer cases of the diseases have been seen recently, owners still need to be diligent in protecting their animals. There was one case of West Nile virus in horses and one case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in horses last year.  In 2005, there were no cases of WNV in horses and four cases of EEE.  That compares with 2003, when there were 150 cases of WNV and eight cases of EEE.

For more information about EEE and West Nile Virus in horses, visit the New Jersey Department of Agriculture web site at

Effective equine vaccines for West Nile virus and EEE have been available for several years. Horse owners should contact their veterinarians now if their horses are not already up-to-date on their vaccinations against both EEE and West Nile virus.

West Nile virus and EEE, like other viral diseases affecting horses’ neurological systems, must be reported to the state veterinarian at 609-292-3965 within 48 hours.