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Published On: Mon, Jul 14th, 2014

Eastern equine encephalitis virus cases prompts advisory in Marion County, Florida

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County today issued a mosquito-borne illnesses advisory in response to an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Marion County.

Public domain image/Dusan Bicanski

Public domain image/Dusan Bicanski

On June 29 a second horse in less than two weeks tested positive for the Eastern equine encephalitis virus. This is the fourth horse to test positive for the virus in Marion County in 2014. Horses also tested positive on April 22, May 31 and June 19.

The risk of transmission to humans has increased, and the Department is continuing surveillance and prevention efforts.

“With two Eastern equine encephalitis infections confirmed in such a short span of time, it is prudent to issue a mosquito-borne illnesses advisory,” said Dan Dooley, environmental administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. “Residents and visitors need to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure to mosquitoes that can carry diseases. Remember to drain and cover.”

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne virus that is quite rare in the United States, with only 5-10 human cases reported annually according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). EEE virus is one of several mosquito-transmitted viruses that can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

It is not transmitted from person to person. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

People at highest risk of getting this infection are those who live in or visit woodland habitats, and people who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities, because of greater exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes.

Symptoms usually start from a few days to more than a week after getting bit by an infected mosquito. These include a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The disease can progress to disorientation, seizures, and coma. It is fatal in approximately 30 percent of the cases.

There is no specific treatment for this infection and a vaccine is not available for prevention.

The CDC advises the public to take the following preventive measures to prevent mosquito-bornediseases:

• Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. The repellent/insecticide permethrin can be used on clothing to protect through several washes. Always follow the directions on the package.
• Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
• Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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