LIVE OAK — The Florida Department of Health in Suwannee County has issued a healthy advisory after two horses tested positive for a mosquito-borne disease.
According to the health department, two Suwannee County horses tested positive for an Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus infection, which means the risk of transmission to humans has increased.
According to the Center for Disease Control, EEE infections in horses are not a significant factor for human infection. According to the CDC, horses — and humans — are considered to be “dead-end” hosts for the virus.
DOH-Suwannee said it will continue its surveillance efforts.
The horses tested positive in eastern Suwannee County between U.S. Highway 90 to the north, County Road 252 to the south, County Road 49 to the west and the county line to the east.
The health department also said there are a few basic precautions residents can take to help limit exposure and hopefully avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
According to the release, people should remember to “Drain and Cover” to protect oneself from mosquitoes.
Draining standing water stops mosquitoes from multiplying.
That includes draining water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or other containers where water has collected.
People should also discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items not being used.
Birdbaths and pet’s water bowls should be emptied and cleaned at least once or twice a week.
Boats and vehicles should be protected from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
And swimming pools should be maintained and appropriately chlorinated. Plastic swimming pools should be emptied when not in use.
Residents are also encouraged to cover their skin with clothing or repellent. Shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts may be necessary for people working in areas where mosquitoes are present. People should also apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. According to the release, repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-methane-diol and IR3535 are effective.
Also, people should cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
For more information, visit the DOH’s website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/%5c/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/index/html or contact the local health department.