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Mosquito in DeKalb County tests positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Metro ATL

Mosquito in DeKalb County tests positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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A mosquito. Photo illustration. Source: Wikimedia commons

A mosquito in DeKalb County tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the Health Department says.

The mosquito was found at a surveillance site in south DeKalb.

The disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is a “bird disease that is occasionally found in horses and rarely in humans.”

“To reduce the potential for EEE, West Nile Virus (WNV) and other mosquito-borne diseases, the Board of Health conducts a comprehensive mosquito control program,” the Health Department says. “Throughout the county, technicians routinely trap mosquitoes that are tested for viruses. They also work with residents to eliminate mosquito breeding locations. Measures include placing larvicide in areas with standing water, like in storm drains, which keeps young mosquitoes from becoming flying, biting adults.”

Most people who contract it don’t have symptoms. The few people who do have symptoms have a flu-like illness with fever, headache and a sore throat.

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“In severe cases, EEE can cause brain swelling and affect the central nervous system,” the Health Department says. “There is no specific treatment for EEE; care is based on symptoms.”

The Health Department recommends people follow the “Five D’s of Prevention” to protect themselves from mosquiot bites. The Five D’s are:

– Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying mosquito-borne diseases usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.

– Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeve shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.

– DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites. Other repellents that are recommended for use contain picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and IR3535.

– Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water, because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes. Cut back tall grass, weeds and vines where mosquitoes like to rest.

– 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.

The Health Department adds, “Horse owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against both EEE and WNV and to clean out watering sources, such as buckets and troughs, every three to four days to prevent mosquito breeding.”

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