Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Jacksonville… What is it and Who Does it Affect?

Eastern Equine Encephalitis – EEE – is a viral disease that most often infects horses and is very dangerous. Mosquitoes contract the disease from birds that live in freshwater swamps and then pass it on to unvaccinated horses. While it is rare, EEE can infect humans as well. Most cases of EEE occur from May to August, but here in Florida, it can be seen year round. According to the Florida Department of Public Healthwe usually see 1 or 2 human cases and upwards of 60 equine cases of Triple E each year, however when conditions are favorable the equine cases can be more than 200.

EEE In Horses

More than 80% of horses that contract EEE will die. It spreads quickly through their bodies and infects the nervous system. Symptoms include fever, depression, lack of appetite, circling, head pressing, blindness, stiffness and paralysis, seizures, and eventually death. All horses are at risk if not vaccinated, but young adults seem to be more vulnerable. The University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine suggest vaccinating twice a year as the most important step in protecting your horses but also suggests the following: remove standing water in pastures and near stables, apply fly masks and sheets when horses are at pasture, mist horses with repellent, do not pasture during the hours of dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and keep fans on in your barns and stables.

EEE In Humans

While it is very rare for humans to contract EEE, the death rate for those that do is more than 30%. That makes it one of the most serious mosquito-borne illnesses in the United States. Symptoms including fever, muscle pain, and headache will likely develop within 3-10 days. If encephalitis becomes present the symptoms will probably include seizures and vomiting and can lead to coma. While some humans may never show signs at all, it can be very dangerous and often those that survive the encephalitis suffer life-long effects. There is no vaccine for humans and no treatment, only treatment of symptoms in efforts to prevent the most serious afflictions. The best thing a human can do is avoid being bitten by a mosquito.

Barrier Sprays and Automatic Misting Systems

At Mosquito Squad of Greater Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra, we urge you to follow the Ts of mosquito proofing your yard. And when you get the final T “Treat,” let us help you. Our barrier treatment will eliminate 85-90% of mosquitoes in your yard on contact and continue to work for up to 3 weeks. Have barns and stables that need some extra attention? Our automatic misting systems releases a 30-second mist several times daily for added mosquito control. Call us today and let’s begin the process of keeping you and your animals protected from the unwanted illnesses that mosquitoes can bring.