Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare but serious disease caused by a virus and spread by infected mosquitoes. The disease most commonly affects people and horses, but illness has been reported in other animals including alpacas, llamas, donkeys, pheasants and emus.
EEE was first detected in animals in Vermont in 2011 when several emus in a large flock died from a EEE virus infection. The following year the first human cases in the state were reported when two residents of Rutland County were confirmed to have EEE. Since then, no additional human cases have been reported, but two horses in Franklin County died from EEE in 2013.
Although EEE virus has caused illness in just a few areas of the state, the virus has been shown to be present in mosquitoes throughout Vermont, so all Vermonters should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.