The Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Health warns Pennsylvanians to take precautionary measures against mosquito bites for themselves and their animals – specifically horses – as the rare mosquito-transmitted viral infection Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in Erie, Carbon, and Monroe counties.
These confirmed cases included a wild turkey, pheasants, and horses. Please take precautionary measures against mosquito bites.
When outdoors, people can avoid mosquito bites by properly and consistently using DEET-containing insect repellents and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing. To keep mosquitoes from entering a home, make sure window and door screens are in place and are in good condition.
Homeowners should take steps to eliminate standing water around their property to reduce mosquito populations. Here are some simple steps you can take:
– Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
– Have roof gutters cleaned annually, particularly if leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.
– Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
– Do not let water stagnate in bird baths.
– Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
– Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and remove standing water from pool covers.
– Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
– Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti products, which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement, and other stores. Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
The symptoms of EEE are:
– High fever (103º to 106ºF),
– Stiff neck,
– Headache, and
– Lack of energy.
These symptoms typically show up three to ten days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Inflammation and swelling of the brain, called encephalitis, can develop. The disease gets worse quickly, and some patients could end up in a coma within a week. This disease can also be fatal, as three out of every ten people who get the disease die from it.
In addition to taking precautions to eliminate standing water on their properties, horse owners are encouraged to proactively vaccinate against both EEE and West Nile Virus, keep animals indoors at night, and spray for mosquitoes. Vaccines for Eastern, Western, Venezuelan, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are available from veterinarians.