AUGUSTA — The Maine state veterinarian is issuing a warning to horse owners as mosquito season arrives: Make sure your animals are up to date on their shots for eastern equine encephalitis.

Dr. Don Hoenig says Maine had an unprecedented and widespread outbreak of that highly fatal, but very preventable, disease last year. In the late summer and fall of 2009, 15 horses and one llama died in central and southern Maine from EEE. Also, three pheasant flocks in southern Maine were euthanized due to infection with the virus.

The state veterinarian says EEE is a preventable, but usually fatal, viral disease in horses. It can also affect humans if they are bitten by mosquitoes that carry the virus.

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