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Sudbury sees its first case of Eastern equine encephalitis

Two horses test positive in the area

Two horses in Greater Sudbury have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. These are the first reports of local horses testing positive for the virus. 

There have been no reports of human illness caused by EEE virus in the Public Health Sudbury and Districts service area. 

A statement by Public Health said that although the virus is primarily found in wild birds, it can be transmitted to humans and horses by the bite of a mosquito that has fed off an infected bird. 

Some human's bitten by an infected mosquito may not develop symptoms, while others may experience a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting.

In some cases, the infection can cause the brain tissue to become inflamed (encephalitis) with symptoms including disorientation, seizures, and coma. 

There is no human vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for EEE virus infections. 

While Public Health said the risk of being infected is low, the reports of confirmed cases in local horses serve as a reminder to continue taking precautions to avoid illness spread by carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. 

  • Tips to avoid being bitten by mosquitos
  • Use an insect repellent approved by Health Canada and follow the application recommendations
  • Avoid areas where mosquitos are known to be present or cover-up by wearing light-coloured clothing, long sleeves and long pants when in wooded areas, golf courses, or gardens, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active
  • Ensure window and door screens have no tears or holes for mosquitos to enter

Mosquitos need only a small amount of calm, standing water to lay their eggs and for larvae to hatch, according to Public Health. Residents are asked to reduce mosquito breeding areas by changing or removing standing water at least once a week from the following areas:

  • bird baths
  • old tires
  • containers, barrels
  • flower pot saucers
  • swimming pool covers, wading pools
  • clogged gutters and eaves troughs
  • clogged drainage ditches
  • small containers like cans or bottle tops
  • unused children’s toys

Public Health said they would be enhancing EEE surveillance with mosquito trapping in the area where the confirmed cases were identified. To date, there have been no positive mosquito pools with EEE found in Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area.