Mosquitoes are capable of spreading a number of viruses called arboviruses or arthropod-borne viruses. The two most common arboviruses in eastern North Carolina are:
Both of these viruses involve a complicated transmission cycle between mosquitoes and birds. Certain mosquitoes can acquire the virus from an infected bird and potentially infect horses and humans. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency website for detailed pictures and illustrations of the mosquito’s life cycle and habitat.

Protective Measures

Protection from mosquito bites requires responsible decisions on the part of every citizen. The following guidelines should be followed to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.
  • Always follow label directions and be especially careful when applying to children.
  • Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in areas with high mosquito infestation.
  • Cover exposed areas with long pants, long-sleeve shirts and hats.
  • Keep all window and door screens in good repair so mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
  • Use mosquito repellents containing DEET (PDF).
  • The very young, elderly, and persons with lowered immune systems have the highest risk for acquiring disease from mosquito bites. These individuals should use extra precaution.

Protecting Your Horses

While there currently are no vaccines available to protect humans from mosquito borne viruses, there are vaccines available to protect horses. These vaccines are available for both EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) (PDF) and WNV (West Nile Virus). It is recommended that horses be vaccinated annually. Check with your veterinarian on the proper procedure for getting them vaccinated.
Horses in a field