UPDATE | Deadly horse disease pops up in Aiken

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Friday, Sept. 5, 2014

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW )-- On Friday, News 12 spoke exclusively with the doctor whose veterinary practice originally conducted the positive Coggins test on the infected mule in the Fox Chase subdivision.

"Our practice actually pulled the Coggins," said Dr. Eric Johnson. "When the results come back we actually send it to the state."

From there, the state confirmed the positive results and the animal was put down.

"You're really looking out for everyone around you," said Dr. Johnson. "Testing, testing ,testing, is the most important thing."

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- A mule in Aiken’s Fox Chase subdivision has tested positive for a deadly virus that only affects equine.

This case of Equine Infectious Anemia is the first new positive test of origin in South Carolina since the 1990s.

“South Carolina is the only Southeastern state that did not record a new positive EIA horse between 2003-2013,” said S.C. State Veterinarian Boyd Parr. "The positive mule has been humanely euthanized under our supervision and no longer poses any risk to other horses.”

The EIA virus is similar HIV in humans and weakens the horse’s immune system, which can lead to disease the same way HIV does in people.

“This case is kind of a wake up call,” said veterinarian Dr. Tom Stinner. "Clients come and do this test and get a negative after negative and they wonder why we're doing that test.”

Since the mule was found in the Fox Chase subdivision, and Fox Chase borders Hitchcock Woods, it’s raised concerns about how quickly the disease could spread. EIA is known to transfer via horseflies and mosquitoes.

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