Deadly mosquito-borne virus that causes brain swelling in humans has been detected in Florida

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Posted at 5:40 AM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-29 17:55:31-04

Since June, Chris Kosich, a technician for Mosquito Joe in Palm Beach County has performed 15 to 20 services a day. His boss says new customer calls increased in May and haven’t slowed since.

”If you’re getting bit and you don’t want to run the risk I would highly recommend calling professionals,” said Kosich.

Now word of the Eastern equine encephalitis virus – known as Triple E—in Orange County, has brought a new level of concern. But local government officials say there shouldn’t be panic.

”That’s Orange County. It’s a little bit further north - usually we see Eastern equine encephalitis numbers start in the Florida Panhandle and into the end of the mosquito season or later into summer,” said Chris Reisinger, Palm Beach County Mosquito Control Environmental Program supervisor. “So this is right on cue for what’s expected.”

Palm Beach County officials say its 17 mosquito trap numbers are surprisingly low for this time of year. Netting approximately 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes recovered from individual traps weekly.

“It’s also been a lot drier this year than it has in previous years,” Reisinger said.

Reisinger says 5,000 mosquitoes in a trap would be required for aerial sprays. He also says what happened in Orange County is a different situation. But its being monitored closely and his office is speaking daily with the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County. He also says Triple E is spread by a flood-water mosquito that would more likely live in forested western communities in the county.

“Western Boca Raton, western Delray Beach, Wellington and Loxahatchee,” he added.


(CNN) -- Florida health officials are warning of an uptick in a mosquito-borne virus known as Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

Several sentinel chickens tested positive for EEE, which can spread to humans via infected mosquitoes and cause brain infection and swelling, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said in a Thursday statement. Sentinel chickens are fowl that are tested regularly for the West Nile virus and EEE. Their blood can show the presence of the diseases, but they don't suffer from the effects of the viruses.


Following the positive tests for the sentinel chickens in Orange County, the health department said "the risk of transmission to humans has increased."

Only about seven cases of the EEE virus in humans are reported in the US each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

However, the disease can be fatal: about 30% of people who contract it die, according to the CDC. Many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.

People develop symptoms about 4 to 10 days after they are bitten by an infected mosquito, the CDC says. Signs include sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. More severe symptoms include disorientation, seizures and coma.

With summer in full swing, mosquitoes are buzzing around at peak populations. Officials warned people to avoid being bitten by draining standing water around their homes, covering skin with clothing or repellant, and using screens to cover doors and windows.

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