Eastern Equine Encephalitis Confirmed in Non-Commercial Farm Animals in Piscataquis County

September 22, 2023

For more information contact: Jim Britt at: Jim.Britt@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, Maine - Animal Health officials with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) are working closely with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) to respond to a positive result and three presumed positive results for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) detected in non-commercial farm animals in Piscataquis County. The animals died last week and were evaluated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory. This case is the first of animals contracting EEE in Maine that officials are aware of since 2019.

Animal owners should be aware that:

  • EEE is a virus transmitted through an infected mosquito's bite.
  • The virus cannot be transmitted from animals to humans.
  • The virus can affect specialty livestock, such as llamas, alpacas, emus, ostriches, and other farm-raised birds, such as pheasants, quail and ducks.
  • Horses are most sensitive to mosquito-borne diseases and should be vaccinated for EEE and West Nile virus (WNV). Symptoms of these diseases in horses include fever, weakness, and lack of coordination. If you notice any of these symptoms in your horse, talk to your veterinarian right away.
  • Owners should contact their veterinarian to discuss available vaccines and take precautions to help reduce exposure to mosquitoes for both themselves and their animals.
  • Any suspicion or confirmation of reportable diseases should be reported promptly to the DACF Division of Animal Health.

For more information about the identification of EEE in mosquitoes in Maine and steps on how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your companion animals, see the recent Maine CDC press release.

Any additional animals or mosquitoes that test positive for EEE will be announced weekly through the Maine CDC arboviral surveillance report.