The Jackson County Health Department in Marianna has confirmed a case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a horse, so health officials are encouraging people to take precautions to protect themselves against EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.
There are several recommendations to avoid the disease carrying mosquitoes. Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. When outdoors and mosquitoes are present, wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Use mosquito repellent with the ingredient "Deet" and eliminate mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water.
Here's more on eliminating those breeding areas: Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters. Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water. Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain. Turn over or remove empty plastic pots, and pick up all beverage containers and cups.
It is also a good idea to check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water. Pump out bilges on boats. Replace water in birdbaths, pet dishes, and plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.
Here's another home preparation tip, repair torn porch and patio screens to keep mosquitoes out.
The symptoms of mosquito-borne infections can come on very quickly. They are headache, fever, dizziness, confusion, movement disorders and coma.
If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately.
For more information on the virus please visit the state Department of Health's Web site at www.doh.state.fl.us.
Or you can call the disease outbreak information hotline for recorded updates on medical alerts status and surveillance. That toll free number is 888-880-5782.