Florida Horse tests positive for EIA Equine Infectious Anemia is also known as swamp fever. stock photo

Deadly EIA Confirmed in Florida Horse


A horse in Okeechobee County, Florida, tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA), according to the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC). This is the first case of the deadly disease this year in the state.
The affected premises and all horses within 200 yards are quarantined. Further testing and an epidemiological trace are underway.
The viral disease, also known as swamp fever, attacks the horse’s immune system. It is transmitted by biting insects, primarily horse flies and deer flies. It can also be transmitted through infected needles being shared between horses.
There is no cure or vaccine to prevent EIA.

Affected horses can carry the disease without symptoms for years or they may become acutely or chronically infected. Signs of the disease include fever, depression, anemia, and dependent edema, sometimes progressing to loss of condition, lethargy, and anorexia.

There are no treatment options for infected horses so 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 horse and other horses prevents transmission of the disease.

To help prevent the disease, veterinarians recommend insect control, good sanitation, and testing new horses with a Coggins test before bringing them onto your property. The use of only new, clean needles and syringes on each horse is also important to keep the disease away.

Florida law requires horses to have a negative Coggins test every 12 months. Foals under 6 months, with their dam who has proof of a negative Coggins, are exempt from the requirement.

Stay with us as we continue to follow this health alert.