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Horse tests positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis | News

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Horse tests positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Spring Hill, Florida -- The Florida Department of Health in Hernando County has received confirmation from the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services that a county horse has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

The horse, which resided in the southeast area of the county -- in the Hayman and Neff Lake roads area -- has since been euthanized. This is the 15th horse in the state to be reported with EEE infection with onset during 2013 and the first in Hernando County.

EEE is a rare disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. It is a virus that can cause inflammation of the brain and, therefore, is very serious in humans. 

Mosquito Control staff is monitoring the area for mosquito activity, and all Hernando County residents are reminded to be vigilant about mosquito bite prevention. Horse owners are encouraged to have their horses vaccinated every six months to provide protection from this disease.

It is important for residents to know that no human cases have been reported in Hernando County but anyone in the area where the virus is circulating can get infected. The risk for infection is highest for people who live in or visit woodland habitats, and people who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities, because of greater exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes.

Symptoms of EEE in humans appear four to ten days after the bite of an infected mosquito occurs. Symptoms of infection include sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.

For health-related questions regarding EEE, contact the Department of Health in Hernando County, Nursing Department at 352-540-6897. Residents may call the Mosquito Control Department at (352) 540-6552 to request mosquito control services. For additional health-related information, please visit www.cdc.gov. For mosquito control information, please visit www.hernandocounty.us/mosquito/.


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