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Eastern Equine Encephalitis Confirmed in Local Horse

By DOH-Escambia

August 01, 2014

An unimmunized horse in Escambia County, FL was recently euthanized because it contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) was first recognized in Escambia County, Florida in 1937. Unimmunized horses throughout the county are at risk for this disease. Horse owners are encouraged to keep current all equine immunizations for mosquito-borne diseases.

While EEE rarely infects humans, transmission of the virus to humans is possible from the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of EEE infection can include sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, and coma. Severe cases of EEE infection in humans can lead to brain damage or death. Persons experiencing symptoms of a mosquito-borne disease should seek immediate medical care.

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County recommends the following steps to prevent mosquito bites:

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 are not 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.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeves.
  • Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
  • Always use repellents as directed by the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.