West Nile Virus and EEE Cases Reported in Jackson County

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Marianna- It was a brisk day fall day Wednesday, but risk was in the Jackson County air.

Most of our EEE and West Nile [cases occur] in September and October. That's the last breeding season for the mosquito" Jackson County Environmental Supervisor, Sharon Pumphrey explained.

A case of each had been reported to Pumphrey's department at the Jackson County Health Department - a horse with West Nile, and one deer with EEE.

"We had recently decided to quit running the mosquito truck but because of the positive e and West Nile, if there's a place that's really bothered by mosquitoes we will go out and spray."

The health department was firing up the mosquito sprayer to protect people, while veterinarians like Carla Hubbard were keeping a close watch on horses.

"If [horses are] symptomatic, what you're going to see is neurological disease" Hubbard said. "They're going to stumble, they're going to twitch, sometimes they'll press their heads against walls. They act abnormal."

Though Hubbard said horses accounted for 90% of West Nile cases in the country, Pumphrey said people could also be infected with the virus.

"In humans, it's much like the symptoms of encephalitis. You have the stiff necks- headaches."

Here are some tips on keeping yourself and four legged friends safe:

"The new health department motto is: drain and cover" Pumphrey said. "Drain all standing water and cover your body. Cover your body with long sleeves, long pants and deet."

A neat trick for horse owners- put gold fish in your horses watering wells- they eat mosquito larvae.

Though there' s no vaccine for human, there are vaccines for horses, and Hubbard highly recommended them.

"The West Nile, encephalitis, rabies- all of those should be vaccinated for in our area."