Marion continues to experience new EEE cases--residents should take precautions
July 16, 2018
OCALA, Fla.—Marion County has continued to experience new cases of eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, recently as additional animals became sick with the virus. The community remains under a mosquito-borne illness advisory due to EEE activity in the county.
The risk of disease being spread from mosquitoes to humans through mosquito bites is currently increased due to the number of local EEE cases. Since the first case at the end of February, a total of eight horses and two emus have died in Marion County after contracting the virus.
EEE is a typically fatal virus in our equine population and can have severe effects (including death) in humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people most at risk for infection with EEE include those who work outside or spend time doing outdoor recreational activities because of added exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes. People involved with the care of emus with EEE virus infection can also be exposed by direct contact with infected birds or their bodily fluids or waste.
The Florida Department of Health recommends that people take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes due to the heightened risk of disease transmission.
“Use mosquito repellent whenever you’re outside to avoid being bitten, and drain any standing water around your home weekly to avoid mosquitoes breeding around your home,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Health Officer Mark Lander.
The department continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue. For more information, visit www.floridahealth.gov/%5C/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases. For more information on eastern equine encephalitis, go to www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/eastern-equine-encephalitis.