The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County (DOH-St. Johns) today advised residents about a confirmed human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in St. Johns County.
This is the first human EEE case reported in Florida in 2023.
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.
There is no specific treatment for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Patient care centers on treatment of symptoms and complications.
DOH-St. Johns reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take
basic precautions to help limit exposure.
To prevent mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business:
DRAIN standing water:
- Drain water from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
- Discarded 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 your skin with:
- CLOTHING – If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.
- REPELLENT – Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with 10-30 percent DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
- Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
COVER doors and windows with screens:
- Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.