Public Health Sudbury & District is calling on the public to take steps to protect itself from bites after two horses in Greater Sudbury tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis. Usually found in wild birds, the virus can be transmitted to humans and horses by a mosquito who has fed on an infected bird.

Some people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop symptoms. Others will experience a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The infection can also be severe and cause the brain tissue to become inflamed (encephalitis) with symptoms including disorientation, seizures, and coma.

While the risk of being infected with Eastern equine encephalitis virus is low, the reports of the infected horses serve as an important reminder to residents to continue to take precautions to avoid illness spread by mosquitoes, as well as other carriers such as ticks. There are no vaccines or specific treatments for the virus. Just like with West Nile virus the public is advised to protect itself against being bitten by wearing clothing and using appropriate insecticides.