FDOH concerned, heightened risk of disease transmission by mosquitoes

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(Photo/mikadago)

Marion County — The Florida Department of Health said Thursday that Marion County continues to experience new cases of eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, as additional animals have become sick with the virus.

Five horses and two emus have died of the virus in Marion County, according to a press release.

The FDOH recommends that residents take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes due to the heightened risk of disease transmission.

“If you’re going to spend time outdoors, you need to take preventative actions to avoid exposure to mosquitoes,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Health Officer Mark Lander. “Drain standing water around your home or property, cover your skin with clothing or repellent and work with a veterinarian to have your horses vaccinated for EEE if they are not currently vaccinated. Please consult your veterinarian or the University of Florida College of Large Animal Medicine for information on how to prevent EEE through vaccination in animals such as emus, alpacas, and llamas.”

The department says that EEE is a typically fatal virus in the equine population and can have severe effects (including death) in humans.

The FDOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue.

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