Tennessee officials have confirmed six cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in the western part of the state. The viral disease, sometimes called swamp fever, attacks the horse’s immune system.
The state has quarantined two locations in McNairy County. An epidemiological investigation is on-going. State Veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM tells Rate My Horse PRO as of Wednesday none of the infected horses have been euthanized.
Tennessee animal health regulations require annual testing of all horses that change ownership or are commingled with horses of multiple ownership. A Coggins test is utilized to determine the presence of EIA.
The often fatal disease affects horses, donkeys, and mules. No other animals or humans can get the virus. The blood-borne illness is typically transmitted by biting insects, but also can be transmitted from horse to horse through infected needles. There is no cure or vaccine to prevent EIA. Symptoms include fever, depression, weight loss, swelling, and anemia.
Since there are no treatment options for infected horses, the United States Department of Agriculture requires euthanasia or strict lifelong quarantine for horses testing positive for EIA. Studies show that a 200-yard separation between an isolated positive EIA and other horses prevents transmission of the disease.