Eastern equine encephalitis found in Hernando - WFLA News Channel 8

Eastern equine encephalitis found in Hernando

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HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Hernando County Mosquito Control said Friday that a sentinel chicken has tested positive for the eastern equine encephalitis virus.

The chicken is part of a flock located on Olivet Drive near State Road 50.  The test result means that mosquitoes carrying the EEE virus are present in the area.  The viruses are not harmful to the chickens, but they can be deadly to humans and horses.

According to the Hernando County Department of Health, "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".

Officials say Mosquito Control staff is monitoring the area for mosquito activity.  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.

No human cases of the virus have been reported in Hernando County.

County officials sent out the following tips for residents to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses: 

*Stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business. Protect yourself from mosquito's bites and the diseases they carry.

*Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

*DISCARD: Old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.

*EMPTY and CLEAN: Birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.

*PROTECT: Boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don't accumulate water.

*MAINTAIN: The water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

*Cover your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellant.

*CLOTHING: If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.

*Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.

*Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

*Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.  Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.

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