GREENE TWP., Pa. (WKBN) – A horse in Mercer County tested positive for the Equine West Nile virus earlier in September. It has now recovered, but the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture explains how this virus is spread and what can be done to prevent it.

According to the Department of Agriculture, DEP confirmed the case while they treated the area for mosquitoes.

The horse’s blood sample was given to a private veterinarian September 5. Later, the PA Vet Lab confirmed the sample was positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the department’s press secretary said.

While the horse has recovered, the virus is often fatal.

The virus is carried by birds. Mosquitoes can bite infected birds and then bite and infect humans, birds and horses.

The Department of Agriculture recommends eliminating standing water. They also encourage horse owners to vaccinate against EEE and West Nile, keep animals indoors at night and spray for mosquitoes.

Vaccines for Western, Venezuelan and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are available from veterinarians.

Symptoms in horses begin with a fever that may reach as high as 106º for one to two days.

They recommend contacting your veterinarian if a horse shows these symptoms.

Additional symptoms can include:

  • Abnormal gait
  • Aimless wandering
  • Circling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooping ears
  • Drowsiness
  • Head pressing
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to swallow 
  • Paralysis
  • Restlessness
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Death