Animal Health Update: Issue 28

a i d - michigan animal health update

Issue 28

2019 Arbovirus Cases

High Number of EEE Cases for 2019


This year, Michigan, like several other states, has experienced high numbers of  Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) cases. Due to recent freezing temperatures, the arbovirus season in Michigan is believed to have ended for 2019. The most recent onset of signs of EEE in a confirmed case was on October 11, 2019. As of November 22, there have been 33 cases of EEE confirmed in domestic animals. This includes 29 cases in equine, two cases in canine, one case in a sheep, and one case in a goat from the following 14 counties:

  • Allegan (1 equine)
  • Barry (2 equine)
  • Calhoun (1 equine and 2 canine)
  • Cass (2 equine)
  • Jackson (4 equine)
  • Kalamazoo (6 equine and 1 goat)
  • Kent (1 equine)
  • Lapeer (1 equine)
  • Leelanau (1 equine)
  • Livingston (1 equine)
  • Montcalm (1 equine)
  • Newaygo (1 equine)
  • St. Joseph (6 equine and 1 sheep)
  • Tuscola (1 equine)

While EEE is most commonly found in southwest Michigan, in reviewing records dating back as far as 1971, cases of EEE have been confirmed in domestic animals in 39 different Michigan counties. It is not uncommon to confirm a few cases of EEE each year, however, cases tend to increase in years where there is a lot of rainfall and flooding early in the summer. Additionally, there has been a historical trend that high numbers of cases are seen about every 10 years. The last big outbreak of EEE was in 2009 when there were 56 confirmed cases of EEE in Michigan equine from 11 counties.

Horses and other equids are typically the animals most commonly seen with EEE; however, other species including dogs, deer, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and camelids rarely get the disease. In 2012, Michigan had its first case of EEE confirmed in a neurologic eight-week-old puppy from Van Buren County. Cases in dogs tend to be seen in animals younger than six months of age. Dogs typically have neurologic signs and diarrhea and die shortly after becoming ill. This year is believed to be the first time EEE has been confirmed in a sheep and goat in Michigan; both animals had a sudden onset of neurologic signs. 

Typically there are a few cases of West Nile virus (WNV) confirmed each year in Michigan. In 2017, Michigan experienced an outbreak of WNV resulting in 15 confirmed cases of the disease in Michigan equine from 14 different counties. To date, Michigan has confirmed one case of WNV in 2019 in a horse from Lapeer County.

MDARD has grant money for the remainder of 2019 and for 2020 to cover the testing costs for EEE and WNV for any suspect animal. If you suspect EEE or WNV in a Michigan animal, please contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) at 800-292-3939, prior to submitting the samples to participate in the grant. Testing is done through Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. When submitting samples, brain is the preferred sample, although serum and cerebral spinal fluid can also be tested. If veterinarians submit brain, the full animal or head can be submitted. If the full animal is submitted, the owner will have to pay for disposal of the body. As a reminder, suspect or confirmed cases of EEE and WNV in animals are required to be reported to MDARD. You may report a case by completing and submitting a Reporting a Reportable Animal Disease form to

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

Four Areas Nominated in Michigan for VMLRP


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program helps qualified veterinarians offset a significant portion of the debt incurred in pursuit of their veterinary medicine degrees in return for their service in certain high-priority veterinary shortage areas. Each state is allowed to designate shortage areas on an annual basis, and Michigan can designate up to six. For the coming year, Michigan intends to nominate four areas, and we anticipate the selected shortage areas will be posted in February 2020. Additional information on the program can be found on the USDA's website. Once the selected shortage areas are posted, there will be a short window during which applications are accepted.

Fairs and Exhibitions 

2019 Fair and Exhibition Summary


Field staff veterinarians from MDARD's Animal Industry Division (AID) inspected a total of 68 county and state fairs in 2019. The most significant discovery was that only six fairs (nine percent of those inspected) had violations deemed serious enough to forward onto AID's Compliance Investigative Unit. This is in contrast to approximately 35-45 percent in the past. This is a testament to the hard work of the fair personnel and the attentiveness of the exhibitors, to follow the rules and requirements. These violations are usually due to the lack of official identification, incorrect equine infectious anemia test papers for horses, or no interstate certificates of veterinary inspection for out-of-state exhibitors.

Seven fairs contacted the MDARD due to pigs with fevers in excess of 105°F. Three fairs had pigs confirmed with H1N2 swine influenza. All three fairs implemented procedures to reduce human exposure and spread of the disease. Healthy swine were marketed earlier than normal in some cases, with ill swine isolated or sent home until recovered. As a reminder, food safety is not an issue with swine influenza.

Every year veterinarians play a crucial partnership role with fairs and exhibitions to ensure that animals remain healthy and the appropriate steps are taken when disease occurs. If you are working with a fair, be sure to check out MDARD's exhibition resources and Michigan State University Extension's Fair and Exhibition Animal Health webpage