News release from the The Georgia Division of Public Health
Brooks County, GA – The Georgia Division of Public Health has confirmed two positive cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in horses found in Brooks County, which indicates an increased risk for the infection in this area. These are the only EEE cases that have been reported in Georgia so far this year.
EEE is the inflammation or swelling of the brain caused by the eastern equine encephalitis virus. EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The EEE virus is transmitted to humans and horses through the bite of an infected mosquito; however, the illness is rare in humans," stated Lynne Feldman, MD, District Health Director. "The EEE virus normally only circulates between birds and mosquitoes in swampy areas. EEE is not transmitted from person to person, horse to horse or horse to human."
While most people bitten by a mosquito carrying EEE will not get sick, those that are infected will generally show symptoms within 3 to 10 days. The symptoms of EEE are sudden onset of fever, muscle pains and headaches; many will also experience more severe illness that may include seizures and coma.
According to Feldman, although most people will not become sick, people are encouraged to take precautions when outdoors. Anyone that works, lives or plays outdoors should do all they can to protect themselves and others from the bites of mosquitoes. Remember these simple tips:
People should keep in mind that West Nile Virus, a separate mosquito-borne disease, is most prevalent August to October; however, there have been confirmed human cases in Dougherty and Clayton County already this year.