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Encephalitis hits Northeast
Eleven states reported 186 EEE cases in horses as of Aug. 23.
CONCORD, N.H. — Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) had been absent from New Hampshire for 22 years, but last year the detection of the virus in three communities prompted health officials to test 22 communities in Rockingham County to track the spread of the virus. EEE made local headlines again this year when four human cases amounted to the most-severe outbreak in the state's history, according to state health officials.
2005 West Nile Virus Veterinary Cases
EEE outbreaks affected humans in Alabama and Florida in August. Eight human cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at presstime, four in New Hampshire alone.
In Massachusetts, fears of fatalities forced schools in Duxbury, Pembroke, Kingston, Halifax and Plympton to suspend outdoor recreational activities following the death of a 5-year-old girl. The state confirmed four cases last year; two cases died. The state reported two fatalities thus far this year.
Eleven states reported 186 EEE cases in horses as of Aug. 23 — a 50-percent increase compared to the same time last year. The mosquito-borne disease is related to West Nile Virus, which also has a strong presence this year.
More than half of all U.S. states reported a total 470 veterinary cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) to date, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Most of those cases were equines, but two dogs, four squirrels and two other species also were infected.
A total of 501 human WNV cases have occurred thus far in the United States, according to the CDC; 12 fatalities have been confirmed.