10:43am

Wed September 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Agriculture officials say horses should be vaccinated for EEE

The New York State Department of  Agriculture is urging horse owners to have their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis and the West Nile virus.

EEE cases in horses have been found recently in St. Lawrence County, as well as in Westchester County. A horse in Saratoga County was also found to have the West Nile virus.

State agriculture officials say the mosquitoes that carry the diseases will be around in some parts of the state until late November.

State Senator Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) has worked on EEE prevention issues after four-year-old Maggie Wilcox of Oswego County died from the EEE virus.

"This is something that is serious, something that I really did not know anything about until the tragedy last year, but upon further research, you know this isn't just something that is a problem in New York, it's a problem across the United States and it's something we all need to work together to find a solution," said Ritchie.

Ritchie sponsored vaccination clinics for horses in her district in June. The EEE vaccine for horses is 90 percent effective, but if horses contract the virus it is always fatal.

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