EEE found in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

EEE found in South Georgia

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August 17, 2006
Health Department Press Release        

ALBANY, Ga., -- The Georgia Division of Public Health has confirmed that a horse in Thomas County tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

This is the first time EEE has been identified in an animal this year in the Southwest Public Health District. There have been no human cases of EEE this year.

Primarily a disease of birds, EEE is one of the most serious types of viral encephalitis. Occasionally the disease can be transmitted to horses or humans by mosquitoes that have previously fed on infected birds.

Though most people will not become ill when bitten by a mosquito carrying the EEE virus, symptoms will occur in about one of every 20 people infected. Death occurs in approximately 30% of people who develop encephalitis.

"We know that mosquito-borne illnesses are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito," said Mel Jones, Environmental Health Program Director, Southwest Public Health District. "Most importantly, we know that mosquito-borne illnesses like EEE and West Nile virus (WNV) can be prevented. Therefore, we must practice mosquito control methods and personal protection measures."

Southwest Georgians can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and their risk of contracting a mosquito-borne illness by practicing personal protection and a few simple mosquito prevention and control techniques:

1) Avoid outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

2) Dress appropriately when outdoors for long periods of time or when mosquitoes are most active. Experts recommend wearing tightly woven light-colored clothing, long sleeves, pants, shoes, and socks when outdoors.

3) CDC recommends use of insect repellents with DEET as an active ingredient. Always follow the directions on the package for the safest and most effective use.

4) Eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs and breed in areas with standing water. Clean gutters and empty accumulated water in flowerpots, old tires, and recycling bins.

"We are hoping that we won't have any human cases of EEE in our health district. The best methods of protection against contracting EEE or any mosquito-borne disease is to practice mosquito control methods and to take personal protection measures," said Jones.

For more information about EEE, please contact the Thomas County Health Department at 229-226-4241.

Additional information about EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases may be obtained by visiting www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org .

Serving more than 300,000 southwest Georgians, Southwest Public Health District is dedicated to providing comprehensive, quality education and services to promote healthy communities.

Our mission is to prevent disease, injury, and disability; promote health and well-being; and prepare for disasters.