Chatham County Mosquito Control has received notification that a chicken used for disease surveillance tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the first of two tests for the virus. The chicken was exposed near the Ogeechee River in Chatham County.
Final confirmation of a positive infection for the virus is based on a second blood sample. That sample is now being tested and results should be received within 10 days.
To date, 22 horses and two dogs in Georgia, including horses in both Bryan and Long counties, have tested positive for the virus. There is a vaccine available to protect horses from EEE. The primary mosquito that transmits the Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus breeds in freshwater swamps.
No human cases of disease have been reported; however, humans are susceptible to EEE. Residents in the Coastal Health District can lessen their chances for contracting mosquito-borne illnesses such as EEE and West Nile Virus by following the five Ds of prevention:Dusk – Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus usually bite at dusk and dawn. Dawn – Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to protect yourself from bites. Dress – Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin. DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites. Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.