Press Releases



Connecticut Confirms First Case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis for 2023 in Emu

State Veterinarian Stresses Importance of Vaccinations to Protect Animals

(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is reporting Connecticut’s first case this year of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in domestic animals. EEE was detected in a 10-year-old male emu from Windham County. The emu was exhibiting neurological signs at the time of death. Diagnostic samples were collected and sent to the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) at the University of Connecticut in Storrs which tested positive for EEE virus.

“This detection highlights the importance of vaccinations and continued precautions that owners should undertake to protect their animals from mosquito-borne illnesses,” said Connecticut State Veterinarian Dr. Jane Lewis. “Horses are the domestic animals most susceptible to infection with mosquito-borne illnesses such as EEE.”

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has detected EEE-infected mosquitoes in: Hampton, Killingly, Thompson, Tolland, Voluntown, and Woodstock. West Nile virus (WNV) infected mosquitoes have been found in 33 Connecticut towns this season: Bethel, Branford, Bridgeport, Colchester, Danbury, Darien, East Haddam, East Haven, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford, Hebron, Killingworth, Manchester, Mansfield, Middlefield, Milford, New Canaan, New Haven, North Stonington, Norwalk, South Windsor, Stamford, Tolland, Wallingford, Waterbury, Waterford, West Haven, Westport, Wethersfield, Willington, and Wilton.

“Although mosquito numbers are declining with the onset of cool weather, we continue to detect EEE virus in communities in eastern Connecticut,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the CAES. “There is continued risk for mosquito-borne diseases until the first hard freeze when mosquito activity ends.”

EEE is not spread by horse-to-horse or horse-to-human contact. It is a viral disease transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes.

Equine owners are encouraged to implement the following, in coordination with their veterinarian, including:

  • Administering the initial two-dose vaccine series, four to six weeks apart
  • Administer regular boosters at least annually
  • Consult with your veterinarian if boosters are needed every six months
  • Give vaccinations at least one month prior to mosquito season to develop protective immunity
  • Remove sources of standing water to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds
  • Clean and refill water troughs regularly
  • Apply fly sprays containing pyrethrin regularly

If your horse is showing neurologic signs, i.e., hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, head tilt, head pressing, incoordination, drowsiness, recumbency, colic, or death, it’s important to call a veterinarian to determine a diagnosis and treatment.  Neurologic diseases of domestic animals, such as EEE, WNV, and Rabies, are reportable to the State Veterinarian at 860-713-2505. For more information, on animals and animal health, visit the state website.

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state's citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state's economy. For more information, visit



For Immediate Release: Friday, September 29, 2023 Contact: Rebecca Eddy,