VALDOSTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District urges all South Georgians to take precautions to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses. A horse in Lowndes County has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). In addition, multiple mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
This is the second mosquito-borne illness health advisory issued this summer. In June, an emu in Lanier County tested positive for EEE and two mosquito pools in Lowndes County tested positive for West Nile Virus.
“We see mosquito-borne illnesses in our district every year, however that does not mean that people should take this lightly,” said Kenneth Lowery, district epidemiologist. “Taking steps to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites is the easiest way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses.”
Most mosquito-borne illnesses are transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Tips to prevent mosquito bites include:
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, picardin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
- Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, wading pools and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.
- Be sure to use repellent and wear protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider indoor activities during these times due to peak mosquito biting hours.
Although there is no vaccine for humans to prevent EEE and West Nile Virus, there are vaccines available for horses. Consult with your veterinarian to have your horse(s) vaccinated as early as possible.
For more information on mosquito borne illnesses visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov.