Six horses, one dog infected with EEE - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Six horses, one dog infected with EEE

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June 18, 2008

Valdosta -  Six horses and a dog in South Georgia have died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as sleeping sickness.

Two horses in Lowndes County and one horse in each Cook, Berrien, Brooks, and Lanier counties tested positive for the mosquito carried disease.

A dog in Ware county was also infected.

 The illness is rare in humans and normally only circulates between birds and mosquitoes in swampy areas.

Health officials say bug spray, among other simple tips, can help protect from mosquito bites and the disease.

"People should really put on long sleeves and long pants if possible and also avoid being outside during the mosquito breeding times such as dusk and dawn. That's when mosquitoes actually bite the worst," says Courtney Sheeley of the South Heath District.

Symptoms include swelling of the brain, seizures and coma. Those symptoms usually surface in three to ten days.

You should protect yourself from mosquito borne illnesses now through October. 

"The EEE virus is transmitted to humans and horses through the bite of an infected mosquito; however, the illness is rare in humans," says 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."

Nine cases have been reported in Georgia this summer.

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