MSPCA offering EEE vaccinations for horses in Merrimack Valley

BOSTON — The MSPCA is offering free horse vaccinations for owners across the Merrimack Valley to fight the spread of a dangerous virus.

Seven horses and four people have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, known as EEE, across the state.

Veterinarians at Nevins Farm in Methuen will be scheduling vaccinating beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3. Owners just need to fill out a short online survey.

Horses that were vaccinated more than six months ago are also eligible to get vaccine boosters.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has denoted 13 communities as being at critical risk for the virus. City-wide mosquito spraying campaigns have been launched all over the Commonwealth to suppress the booming population of the insect.

EEE is primarily spread by mosquitos that have come into contact with the virus. The insect's population has been flourishing due to the exceedingly wet conditions through the spring and summer this year.

The vaccination for horses is considered extremely safe by the MSPCA and says it has a low rate of reaction and a high rate of efficacy.

The vaccination program will begin in the Merrimack Valley and spread to horse owners outside the area based on the availability of further resources.