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Another mosquito-borne illness surfaces in West Virginia
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Surveillance and Disease Control, has discovered birds in Nicholas and Wood counties infected with eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). This is the first such isolated discovery in West Virginia.
Eastern equine encephalitis is very similar to West Nile and Lacrosse encephalitis in that it is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms range from a mild flu-like illness to coma and sometimes death. This form of encephalitis carries a 30 percent fatality rate, but has been considered rare in recent years. Only 153 cases of EEE have been confirmed in the U.S. since 1964.
As with West Nile and Lacrosse encephalitis, it cannot be stressed enough that when outdoors during mosquito season, people need to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. The best means of protection continue to be to use - according to manufacturer’s directions - insect repellants containing DEET, and wear long, loose-fitting clothing. In addition to these methods, mosquito populations can be drastically reduced by clearing your surrounding property of all standing water. Bird baths, planters and even something as small as a bottle cap with standing water are potential breeding grounds for mosquitos.
For more information contact the Office of Communications at 304-558-7899, the Division of Surveillance and Disease Control at 304-558-5358 or your local heath department.
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