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Maine Officials Warn Public about Spread of EEE 

Maine health officials say eastern equine encephalitis has made its northernmost foray to date with its discovery in a Penobscot County horse. Maine officials said Monday the horse in Stetson is one of three that have died in August from the virus, known as EEE. Dr. Don Hoenig, Maine state veterinarian, says there are another five suspected cases. EEE is spread by mosquitoes that pick up the virus from infected birds. Dr. Dora Anne Mills of the Maine Center for Disease Control says the virus has arrived earlier than usual. She warned people to cover up with long sleeves, pants and socks or use an insect repellent containing DEET. EEE is rare but can be deadly to humans . Mills says it’s fatal in one-third of cases and half of survivors suffer permanent neurological damage.Horse rescues across Maine are finding that the rise in the number of EEE cases is proving to be costly. Co-founder of the Last Chance Ranch in Troy Mary Myshrall says all 12 of their horses will be vaccinated Tuesday, costing them nearly 4-hundred dollars. Myshrall says, “The vaccines are critical, but for some cost prohibitive. We’re taking money from a hay budget to pay for the vaccinations that we weren’t planning on.” Last Chance Ranch owners and volunteers will hold a yardsale Labor day weekend with hopes that the sales will help recoop the money being used on vaccinations. If you would like more information on the ranch log onto Last Chance Ranch.