TRENTON - A mare in Atlantic County contracts Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and becomes New Jersey's second reported case in 2017.

mosquito on a human hand (Anest, ThinkStock)

Information from New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher relates that the nine-year-old mare was diagnosed on September 17, had not been vaccinated for the mosquito-borne condition in two years, and is now under treatment. State officials did not disclose the community, farm, or owner involved.

A five-year-old mare in Cumberland County that was not inoculatged against EEE died August 28.

Agriculture officials say that EEE, which inflames brain tissue, has "significantly higher" death rate for horses than West Nile Virus (WNV), which attacks the neurological system.

Both are transmitted through mosquito bites, cycling between mosquitos and birds, with horses and humans considered dead-end hosts. They add that the risk of EEE contagion from horses to humans is insignificant.

Late summer and early fall are the most common times for the diseases to proliferate. There were four equine EEE cases in New Jersey from mid-August to mid-September 2016, and no WNV cases reported, officials said.

Horse owners are advised to contact veterinarians if their animals' EEE and WNV inoculations are not current. Vaccines for both are commercially avaialble.

Diagnoses of either virus, and others that afflict horse neurological systems, are required to be reported to the state veterinarian within 48 hours, 609-671-6400. For assistance in EEE and WNV testing, e-mail the New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Lab, or call 609-406-6999.

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