The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reported two cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in humans in Baldwin County in the past few weeks, including one death of a 7-year-old girl.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare disease that is spread to horses and humans by infected mosquitoes. It is among the most serious of a group of mosquito-borne virus diseases that can affect the central nervous system and cause severe complications and even death.
Infection can cause a range of illnesses. Most people have no symptoms; others get only a mild flu-like illness with fever, headache and sore throat. For people with infection of the central nervous system, a sudden fever and severe headache can be followed quickly by seizures and coma. About half of these patients die from the disease. Of those who survive, many suffer permanent brain damage and require lifetime institutional care.
ADPH cautions the public about how important it is to prevent mosquito bites to protect yourself and your home environment.
Preventing mosquito bites is needed to protect against viruses such as EEE and West Nile virus that are present in Alabama. Mosquito repellents are particularly needed at the dawn and dusk hours and municipal mosquito control spraying is needed to prevent new hatches.
To avoid mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellents.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when possible.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes.
- Treat clothing with repellents.
- Use air conditioning or screens on windows and doors.
Mosquito Control Outside Your Home
Tip n’ Toss –
Mosquitoes tend to lay eggs near standing water.
Do this once a week:
Empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water. These include tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, or trash containers. Tightly cover buckets, cisterns, and rain barrels.
- If a container has no lid, cover with wire mesh with holes. Holes need to be smaller than an adult mosquito.
- If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps.
- Use larvicides
- If a body of water is large
- If water will not be used for drinking
- It cannot be covered or dumped out.