NEW YORK (AP) – Heath officials say American deaths and diseases from a rare mosquito-borne virus are higher than usual this year.
Eastern horse encephalitis has been diagnosed in 21 people in six states and five people have died. The infection is only seen in some counties within a small number of states. The United States has seven illnesses and three deaths on average each year.
In North Carolina, a four-year-old mare who was not vaccinated with Cumber County disease was diagnosed in July. The horse has since been sacrificed.
A person in Catawba County was reportedly diagnosed with the disease, but has recovered.
It is not clear why the number is up this year, but for some reasons cases appear to be nailing every two years.
Most infections occur in the summer, so health officials do not think it will be much worse.
As of Wednesday, Massachusetts had eight cases, followed by Michigan, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and North Carolina.