Local Horse Tests Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

By: Georgia Department of Public Health Email
By: Georgia Department of Public Health Email

July 2, 2012 -- 3:27 p.m.

Lakeland, GA - The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed one positive case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse found in Lanier County. This is the fourth positive case of EEE found in a horse in South Georgia this year.

EEE is the inflammation or swelling of the brain caused by the eastern
equine encephalitis virus. EEE is regarded as one of the most serious
mosquito-borne diseases in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The EEE virus is transmitted to humans and horses through the bite
of an infected mosquito; however, the illness is rare in humans,”
stated Courtney Sheeley, Public Information Officer. “The EEE virus
normally only circulates between birds and mosquitoes in swampy areas. EEE is not transmitted from person to person, horse to horse or horse to human.”

While most people bitten by a mosquito carrying EEE will not get sick,
those that are infected will generally show symptoms within 3 to 10
days. The symptoms of EEE are sudden onset of fever, muscle pains and headaches; many will also experience more severe illness that may include seizures and coma.

Although most people will not become sick, people are encouraged to
take precautions when outdoors. Anyone that is outdoors should do all they can to protect themselves and others from the bites of mosquitoes. Remember these simple tips:
● Use an EPA-registered repellant anytime you are outdoors for any length of time.
● Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants, as
temperatures permit.
● Avoid prolonged exposure outdoors during mosquito biting times. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many species of mosquitoes.
● Any containers that can collect water should be discarded or
dumped daily.
● Check windows or screen doors for holes to help keep mosquitoes from entering your home.
● Apply insecticides in your yard if you have standing water,
which will help control mosquitoes in the larval stage. Use products
containing Bti or methoprene and always follow the directions to apply
larvicide correctly.

People should keep in mind that West Nile Virus (WNV), a separate
mosquito-borne disease, is most prevalent August to October; however, there have been three positive mosquito samples reported in Lowndes County so far this year.

Horses and other animals should be vaccinated against EEE and WNV annually at a veterinarian’s office.

For more information on EEE or any other mosquito-borne disease visit www.cdc.gov or call South Health District at 333-5290.

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