Two horses in Louisiana die of Eastern Equine Encephalitis; and a Rabies report from Florida. Travel Warnings for Brazil, Madagascar, Philippine Islands, and Sri Lanka.

Photo by Tom Gilliam. Wikipedia Commons.


Louisiana 04/04/11 by Linda Barron – Eastern Equine Encephalitis caused the death of two horses in Beauregard Parish last week, according to local veterinarian Dr. G.J. Abdalla, D.V.M. at Beauregard Veterinary Clinic in DeRidder. Dr. Abdalla cautions all horse owners, to be aware of this deadly virus, which is transferred to the animal through the bite of infected mosquitoes. “Mosquitoes are very active right now and any stagnant water or tires with water standing in them are breeding spots for mosquitoes,”  Dr. Abdalla said. “It is very important to keep the areas where any horses are kept, free of these avenues for mosquito breeding.”

There are other diseases carried by mosquitoes that can infect horses and other animals, including West Nile Virus, which is potentially deadly, however the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, which is the most prevalent in Beauregard Parish, has a 100 percent mortality rate, according to Dr. Abdalla. “The disease is most prevalent in this area in the spring and sometimes in about September,” Dr. Abdalla said. He said those horse owners who live near a body of water have a greater chance of their animals being infected with this virus which effects the horse’s central nervous system.

Symptoms of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus include, but are not limited to, sleepiness, incoordination [sic], sometimes very hyper and excitable, falling down and head pressing, according to Dr. Abdalla. “Anyone who feels that their horse has contracted the virus, please don’t stand near the horse, because it could fall on you and injure you,” Dr. Abdalla said. “Vaccine injections for horses are an effective way to ward off this deadly virus,” Dr. Abdalla said. “And can be purchased either through a veterinarian or through most feed stores, and can be administered by the animal’s owner.”

“However, they must remember a booster must be administered about three weeks after the vaccine, then another booster administered about every six months,” Dr. Abdalla said. There are other topical products available to ward off mosquitoes and flies, however, according to Dr. Abdalla, the vaccination is the most effective way.

Dr. Abdalla also reported that there is only about two days from the time a horse is infected with the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, to mortality. He also urges anyone who has had a horse die from this, or any virus, “please report it to a local veterinarian, so it can be reported to the Commissioner of Agriculture, who then reports to the Centers for Disease Control.”

According to Dr. Abdalla, the mosquitoes that are infecting horses with this disease can also infect humans and other animals, invading their nervous system, including the spinal cord and brain, according to information collected from the Directors of Health promotion and Education website. Dr. Abdalla said spraying for mosquitoes is something that can be done in areas where mosquitoes are more prevalent and in areas where horses have been infected, if horse owners will notify their veterinarian of the problem.

“If we can control the mosquito population, we can better control the disease,” Dr. Abdalla said. “But I recommend all horse owners vaccinate their horses for this deadly virus.” Those who would like more information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis can visit the Directors of Health Promotion and Education at , or call a local veterinarian.

Florida 04/04/11 from a report by Roy Wilson – A stray cat in the area of Yale Circle in Riverview has tested positive for rabies.

Travel Warnings:

Brazil 04/02/11 by Robert Herriman – The Health Secretariat in Rio de Janeiro city reported Friday that the number of dengue fever cases in the city has surpassed 10,000 in the first three months of 2011. The 10,158 cases from January to March easily eclipses the number of cases from the entire 2009 (2,723) and 2010 (3,120). In the entire state of Rio de Janeiro, the number of cases has exceeded 20,000 with 18 deaths. In addition, with this outbreak, two cases this week were type-4 dengue fever (DEN-4). Though not anymore pathogenic than other types of dengue, it is the first reported cases in the area. The last epidemic of dengue fever in the state of Rio de Janeiro was in 2008 when 250,000 cases were reported along with 174 deaths.

Madagascar 04/01/11 by Robert Herriman – According to a report today on the German web site,, the latest numbers from the African island state show the number of deaths from pneumonic plague to be at 60. This is in addition to at least 200 other people infected with the deadly bacterial pathogen. Bruno Maes from UNICEF in the Madagascar capital, Antananarivo talks of the great concern of the rapid spread of the disease in the country. Almost all regions of Madagascar are affected by the disease.

Philippine Islands 04/04/11 by Bernadette E. Tamayo – Senator Loren Legarda, worried over the reported rise in dengue cases as a result of climate change, urged the Department of Health to improve its public health services and ensure early prevention and control of diseases. Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that according to a study, Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010, it is not disasters but climate change related-diseases that cause the most number of deaths. The DoH reported that as of February this year, around 13,830 people were admitted in hospitals for dengue. In Metro Manila alone, there were 3,640 dengue cases, a 106-percent increase compared to the same period last year. “This rise in dengue cases is a cause for alarm, especially because our country is one of the most vulnerable to vector-borne diseases,” Legarda said. The report that was conducted by the Development Assistance Research Associates also stated that although the Philippines’ climate and location naturally assist in the proliferation of dengue, “higher temperatures and more humid climates caused by climate change favor the growth of insects and vectors that spread diseases.”

Sri Lanka 04/04/11 by Yohan Perera – Two leading boys’ schools in Colombo City have been found to have dengue mosquito breeding grounds in their premises while Colombo city is currently experiencing a dengue outbreak. Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, the chief medical officer of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), told Daily Mirror that these schools had been warned that legal action would be taken if they failed to clean up their premises. Dr. Kariyawasam said there had been 200 dengue cases in the city last month and 500 cases during the first quarter of the year. Some 140 dengue patients had been under five years of age and 202 below the age of 20.

A majority of this year’s victims have been schoolchildren. Several churches and temples had also been found to have mosquito breeding grounds in their premises. Dr. Kariyawasam said the vicinity of the Premadasa Cricket Stadium, where some of the cricket world cup matches were played this year, was an area which was infested with mosquitoes but that the timely action of the CMC had prevented a disaster during the world cup. He said the areas had been sprayed with insecticide prior to matches. The spread of dengue is due to the inter-monsoonal rains that the country is experiencing.


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