DeLand, FL – Volusia County officials are warning the public to be cautious after a rare mosquito-borne disease has been recently found in animals.
Two cases of eastern equine encephalitis have just been confirmed in a horse and a donkey, according to the Florida Department of Health. Several sentinel chickens and at least one emu have also tested positive for the disease in Volusia County, according to county health officials.
“No human cases have been reported,” said FDOH-Volusia Communications Manager Holly Smith. “However, the risk of transmission to humans has increased.”
Volusia joins 25 other Florida counties this year with at least one confirmed case of eastern equine encephalitis, according to FDOH.
The county is encouraging residents and visitors alike to take basic precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Among those are to:
– Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water 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 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 swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated.
– Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
– Cover skin with clothing or repellent. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
– Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
– Cover doors and windows with screens. Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.