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Virginia horse tests positive for deadly disease

Published: Aug. 10, 2018 at 10:30 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2018 at 9:26 AM EDT
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SUFFOLK, VA (WWBT) - A horse in Suffolk has tested positive for a deadly mosquito-borne disease.

The horse was taken to the veterinary hospital at North Carolina State University in late July where it died. It is the first recorded case of the disease in Virginia this year.

Tests on the horse, a quarter horse mare, confirmed it died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which has an 80 to 90 percent mortality rate.

Virginia Department of Agriculture said the horse was not properly vaccinated against the disease. Horses are supposed to receive a boosters every six to 12 months following an initial vaccination.

Otherwise known as "sleeping sickness," the disease causes a swelling and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms of the disease include impaired vision, circling, inability to swallow, staggering gait, convulsions and paralysis.

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