By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Pennsylvania health and agriculture officials are warning the public  to take precautionary measures against mosquito bites for themselves and their animals – specifically horses – as the rare mosquito-transmitted viral infection Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in Erie, Carbon, and Monroe counties.

The recently confirmed cases include a wild turkey, pheasants, and horses.

EEE is a virus carried by birds. If a mosquito bites an infected bird it can then transmit the potentially fatal virus to humans, horses, and other birds. Because of the high mortality rate in horses and humans, EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States.

Connecticut EEE: East Lyme resident dies, 2nd case reported

When outdoors, people can avoid mosquito bites by properly and consistently using DEET-containing insect repellents and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing. To keep mosquitoes from entering a home, make sure window and door screens are in place and are in good condition.

Massachusetts reports 2nd Eastern Equine Encephalitis fatality

Homeowners should take steps to eliminate standing water around their property to reduce mosquito populations. Here are some simple steps you can take:

–         Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

–         Have roof gutters cleaned annually, particularly if leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.

–         Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

–         Do not let water stagnate in bird baths.

–         Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.

–         Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and remove standing water from pool covers.

–         Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

–         Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti products, which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement, and other stores. Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

18 infections you can get from mosquitoes