POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Health in Polk County issued an advisory to residents Monday due to an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Polk County.

According to health officials, two horses have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection, and the risk of transmission to humans has increased.

Due to the recent illnesses, Polk County Mosquito Control and DOH-Polk will continue surveillance and prevention efforts.

Health officials advise residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by taking basic precautions to help limit exposure, such as remembering to “drain and cover.”

Here are a few tips to help protect yourself from mosquitoes:

  • Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying. Including, water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots, or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances, and other items that aren’t being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
  • Cover skin with clothing or repellent. Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
  •  Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

For more information about mosquito-borne illnesses, visit here.