COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - The Collier County Health Department (CCHD) and the Florida Department of Health are issuing a mosquito-borne advisory after a second positive report of a horse with Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) in Collier County in the past two weeks.
The virus is maintained in a cycle between mosquitoes and birds in freshwater swampy areas, sometimes biting a horse or a human.
EEEV causes severe illness in humans and horses. Symptoms in humans develop 3-10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito and begin with a sudden onset of fever, general muscle pains, and a headache of increasing severity. Symptoms can become more severe over 1-2 weeks and infected individuals will either recover or show onset of inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) with seizures and vomiting.
Human cases are usually preceded by those in horses. Disease transmission does not occur directly from person to person. Those at highest risk are people who live in or visit woodland areas, people who work or participate in outdoor recreational activities where there is greater exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes.
The CCHD reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Everyone is encouraged to take the basic steps to limit exposure by following these recommendations:
To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember the "5Ds":
· Dusk and Dawn -- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.
· Dress -- Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
· DEET -- When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are other repellent options.
· Drainage -- Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.