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'It’s a deadly disease, and it’s very preventable': Virus kills 2 horses in the Midlands

Clemson University says the best way to protect a horse is to get them vaccinated twice a year.

LEE COUNTY, S.C. — The deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus known as EEE has resulted in the deaths of two South Carolina horses, one in Lee County and another in Sumter County, according to Clemson Livestock Poultry Health.

“Horse owners should be very concerned,” said Camden horse owner Linda Franklin Moore. She’s concerned as her county neighbors the two where horses have died.

Moore says her horses, Bell and Sadie, are both vaccinated against it, and if others haven't gotten their horses vaccinated yet they should.

"It’s a deadly disease, and it’s very preventable, and it's not worth the risk to skip out on your vaccine,” Moore said.

Sean Eastman, Director of Field Services at Clemson Livestock Poultry Health, says vaccination is the best prevention method and that those who aren't vaccinated are at risk.

“Once they get bitten by the mosquito, they tend to show clinical signs 10 days after the bite occurs, Eastman said. "It progresses rapidly.”

Symptoms include stumbling, circling, head pressure, depression, inability to stand, and more.

EEE isn't spread from horse to horse, but with wet summers like this year, there tends to be an increase in cases due to the increase in mosquitos. The latest two mark the 3rd case this year in the state.

“It does increase incidents when we have a wet summer or humid summer where the population is heavier than normal,” Eastman said. 

“This is not something that you’d want to experience with your horses,” Moore added. 

The first case this year was back in January in Berkeley County.

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