A horse in Ellabell has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), according to the Department of Public Health.
EEE is a mosquito-borne virus that causes swelling of the brain and is fatal in horses 70 to 90 percent of the time. EEE has also been detected in the mosquito population in western Chatham County and a horse in Effingham County tested positive for EEE earlier this month.
Horse and large animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against the virus and to clean out watering sources, such as buckets and troughs, every three to four days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.
The primary mosquito that transmits EEE breeds in freshwater swamps. No human cases of the disease have been reported in Georgia this year; however, humans are susceptible to EEE. All residents are also encouraged to use EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20 percent to 30 percent DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Homeowners should also get rid of standing water around the home and in the yard where mosquitoes can breed.
Public health officials remind residents that mosquitoes "don't pay attention to maps" and that everyone in the county should be aware that EEE has been detected in the mosquito population.
Remember the 5Ds of mosquito bite prevention can also help prevent mosquito bites and breeding:
Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
Drain - Empty any containers holding standing water - buckets, barrels, flower pots, tarps - because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
For more information on EEE: http://www.cdc.gov/EasternEquineEncephalitis/