Important Eastern Equine Encephalitis Information

County Health Department Administrators Homer Rice and Jerry Wynn announced that Florida Department of Health (DOH) Secretary John O. Agwunobi, M.D., M.B.A. M.P.H., has issued a medical alert for Leon and Gadsden Counties after a human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in each county was confirmed.

It takes from four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito for an individual to develop symptoms of EEE. Symptoms begin with a sudden onset of fever, general muscle pains, and a headache of increasing severity.

Physicians should contact their county health department if they suspect an individual may have contracted a mosquito-borne illness. DOH laboratories provide testing services for physicians treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne disease.

DOH continues to advise the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts. These should include the “5 D’s” for prevention:

* Dusk and Dawn - Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.

* Dress - Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.

* DEET - When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options.

* Drainage - Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

Tips on Repellent Use:

* Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellants are not suitable for children.

* Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other effective mosquito repellents, as reported by the CDC in April 2005, contain Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.

* Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.

* In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.

* Infants should be kept indoors or mosquito netting should be used over carriers when mosquitoes are present.

* Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child's skin and clothing.

• If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer's directions.

Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Sites:

* Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.

* Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain.

* Turn over or remove empty plastic pots.

* Pick up all beverage containers and cups.

* Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water.

* Pump out bilges on boats.

* Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week.

* Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.

* Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus, EEE, St. Louis Encephalitis, malaria, and dengue. Florida residents are encouraged to report dead birds via the Web site

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH's Environmental Health Web site at or call the West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-888-880-5782.

You can also call the Leon County Health Department at 487-3155.