Health Care

Deadly mosquito virus strikes horse in Ashtabula

Deadly mosquito virus strikes horse in Ashtabula”

A positive EEE test in an animal automatically raises the threat level for EEE to critical in a community, according to health officials.

The same sample also tested positive for West Nile virus, the county's fourth this season.

ME health officials are warning about an active season for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease. Human infections are rare - the CDC says New Jersey saw only one human case between 2009 and 2018.

But officials' latest warning comes after the department confirmed four additional cases in horses - for a total of seven this year - a bellwether that the disease could still actively spread.

The four new cases bring the total number of horses infected with EEE in MA this year to seven, state officials said.

But though they are infrequent, EEE infections can be very serious.

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Approximately one in every three individuals who are infected with EEE die and many of those who recover experience lasting health problems, officials said. There is no vaccine for the illness.

The virus carried by the insects first triggers flu-like symptoms which can then progress to life-threatening brain swelling. Signs appear after a few days of systemic illness and can include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, a blueish color to the skin, convulsions, and coma.

Health officials said people should use an EPA-approved insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, treat clothing and gear with Permethrin, and take steps to control mosquitoes by emptying artificial sources of standing water, fixing holes in screens and working with a pesticide control applicator.

CDC officials said people should minimize outdoor activity from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets, barrels, and other containers.

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