Nine cases of equine encephalomyelitis on Marajó Island, state of Pará, Brazil, were studied. The affected horses had difficulty to stand, walked in circles, with marked depression, closed eyelids, tongue paralysis, muscle tremors, bruxism, anorexia and dehydration. Some had their ear and eyelid reflexes diminished, decreased tongue tone and tachycardia; laid down frequently they kept their head on the chest. Often they were seen resting their head on tree trunks or fences. At necropsy, hemorrhages of the meninges and spinal cord, and in some animals also adhesion of the meninges were found. Histologically there was diffuse encephalitis affecting mainly the gray matter, with meningitis and choroiditis. Presence of perivascular cuffs consisting of mononuclear inflammatory cells was observed. From two horses the Eastern equine encephalitis virus was identified by semi-nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (semi-nested RT-PCR).
Equine encephalitis; Eastern equine encephalitis virus; Marajó Island