PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) -- Authorities say they've confirmed that a horse in southwestern Michigan has died after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, a viral disease.
The announcement Thursday by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the 12-year-old mare from Van Buren County is the state's first case of the disease this year. In 2012, the state's only case was in a puppy from the same county.
Officials say the horse wasn't vaccinated against the potentially deadly viral disease and died after developing severe swelling of the brain.
The state says horse owners in southwestern Michigan should be especially aware of the risk of the disease and take extra measures to protect their animals.
Eastern equine encephalitis is rare but can also be deadly among humans. It's spread by mosquitoes.