By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Several sentinel chickens have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus infection, prompting the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County (DOH-Citrus) to issue a mosquito-borne advisory this week.
Health officials advise residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure as the risk of transmission to humans has increased.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is spread to horses and humans by infected mosquitoes, including several Culex species and Culiseta melanura.
Symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.
EEE is a more serious disease than West Nile Virus (WNV) and carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore throat. There is no specific treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma.
DOH-Citrus says to protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember to “Drain and Cover”:
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, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone and IR3535 are effective.
Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
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 (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2 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.
Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
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