Officials have confirmed that a Wilmington horse has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
An 11-year-old quarter horse was euthanized at Russell's Reach after receiving extensive veterinary care.
Kimberly Niggel, the stable's owner, said she got the horse from a ranch in Oklahoma. Niggel said she was told the horse had up to date vaccinations, but since EEE is almost non-existent in Oklahoma, the vaccinations didn't include ones for EEE.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of this beautiful animal," said Niggel. "I wanted to make everyone aware of this incident and urge people to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their animals."
EEE, a mosquito-borne disease, has been reported in horses and chickens in Bladen, Carteret, and New Hanover Counties.
With the confirmation of the EEE in New Hanover County, precautionary measures are underway at Russell's Reach. "For the utmost protection of our clients and horses, we are actively participating in the New Hanover County Health Department Mosquito Control Program," said Niggel.
Unlike the rabies vaccination, EEE and West Nile Virus vaccinations are not state mandated and are left up to the owner to decide.
"I just felt like if I could save one horse from suffering this way or if I could save one person from having to take care of a horse in this state it's worth coming forward and telling this story," Niggel said.
According to officials, EEE has never proven to be contagious and there is no increased danger to humans or other horses exposed to a horse infected with EEE.
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