Three horses test positive for Encephalitis - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Three horses test positive for Encephalitis

May 15, 2003

Nashville-- The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed three positive cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in horses found in Berrien County.

 EEE is inflammation or swelling of the brain caused by the eastern equine encephalitis virus. “The EEE virus is transmitted to horses and humans from the bites of infected mosquitoes; however, the illness is rare in humans,” says Lynne Feldman, MD, district health director for the South Health District. “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.”

Most people who are bitten by a mosquito carrying the EEE virus will not become sick. Those that are bitten and are infected will begin to show symptoms within 3 to 10 days. The symptoms are sudden onset of fever, muscle pains and headache; many will also experience more severe illness that may include seizures and coma.

 EEE is one of the most serious types of viral encephalitis causing death in approximately 30% of persons infected. There is no specific treatment or vaccine to protect humans from the virus. However, doctors can treat symptoms of illnesses such as swelling of the brain, seizures and breathing complications.

There is a vaccination available for horses from veterinarians that help protect them from the virus. Citizens should do all they can to protect themselves and their families from the bites of mosquitoes. Repellants with DEET provide excellent protection while outdoors. Remember that DEET should not be used on infants and instructions for use for adults is contained in the packaging.

Avoid prolonged exposure outdoors during mosquito breeding times. If you must be outdoors, wear long sleeves and long pants to protect yourself. Any containers that can collect water should be discarded or dumped daily.

Watering pans for pets and birdbaths should be emptied and cleaned at least twice a week or more. Swimming pools and outdoor spas should have proper treatment and filtration systems. Check window and door screens for holes to help keep mosquitoes from entering your home.

Widespread spraying of insecticides over an entire county can be very expensive and is generally not effective. The Berrien County Commissioners have authorized targeted spraying in the areas where horses have been confirmed positive for EEE. Targeted spraying may be beneficial but personal protection is the most important means of protection.

For more information on EEE or any other mosquito borne diseases call the district office at 229-333-5290 or toll free at 866-801-5360.

Information is also available on the Georgia Division of Public Health website 
or the Centers for Disease Control website .

posted at 5:50PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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