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"Swamp Cancer" Vaccine Helps Chincoteague Ponies

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Chnicoteague Ponies

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) -- The managers of a Virginia island's herd of wild horses say a vaccination program to protect the ponies from a swamp disease that killed seven horses in 2018 is showing encouraging results.

The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company says it will continue giving the ponies yearly boosters to prevent Pythiosis, also called “swamp cancer."

The disease comes from a fungus-like organism that causes painful lesions.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports cases are down from 2018, when seven horses died. Just one died from what its owner suspected was the disease in 2019 and since then one unvaccinated horse contracted it but has since recovered.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.