Mosquito Buzz: Three Area Horses Test Positive for EEE

By: Leon County Health Department Release Email
By: Leon County Health Department Release Email

Tallahassee, Florida- September 12, 2012

Mosquito-borne disease in Leon County has increased. Two horses living within a mile of each other near the Fort Braden area and Highway 20 have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) in the last two weeks. Yesterday, another horse in the Woodville area also tested positive for EEE. In addition, neighboring Gadsden County Health Department issued a release Monday confirming their first human case of West Nile virus in 2012. The risk of mosquito-borne disease transmission to humans has increased.

The Leon County Health Department urges residents and visitors to protect themselves, their pets and their horses from mosquitoes. If you want your property sprayed, please call the Leon County Mosquito Control Division, at 850-606-1400, to request spraying.

EEE is almost always fatal to horses, so vaccinate them to avoid EEE. Dogs and cats can contract heartworm disease from mosquitoes (also usually fatal), so please call your veterinarian for the best preventative for your pets. Protect yourself and your family by taking basic precautions to help limit exposure by following the Department of Health recommendations below.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember “Drain and Cover”:
DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
• Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
• Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
• Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
• Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
• Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.
 CLOTHING - Wear shoes, socks and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
 REPELLENT - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
• Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.
• Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

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Horses, EEE
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COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
 Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.

PROTECT PETS from mosquito bites.
 Mosquitoes can transmit heartworms to your dog and cat, so please call your veterinarian about the best precautions to take for your pets. Although curable if caught early enough, heartworm treatment is expensive and difficult.

Tips on Repellent Use:
 Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
 Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other US Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. 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.
 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.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the web site for Surveillance of Wild-bird Die-offs located at http://www.myfwc.com/bird/. For more information, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call your local county health department’s environmental health division.

Area County Mosquito Control Numbers:

Jefferson County Health Department: 850-342-0170 x 209
Jefferson County Mosquito Control: 850-997-3343
Leon County Environmental Health Division: 850-606-8350
Leon County Mosquito Control Division: 850-606-1400
Wakulla County Mosquito Control: 850-926-0410


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