HARRISBURG (KDKA)– The Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Health are advising residents to take extra precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites.
Officials say Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a rare mosquito-transmitted viral infection and it has been confirmed in Carbon, Monroe, and Erie Counties.
EEE can be potentially fatal to birds, horses, and humans.
The CDC says there have been 18 reported cases across the country in 2019. Most fatal cases have been reported in the Mid-Atlantic states.
Symptoms for the disease include a high fever of 103 degrees or higher, a stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy. Most symptoms typically last 3-10 days.
Symptoms for horses include fever, circling, drooping ears, hyperactivity, paralysis, abdominal gait, and aimless wandering. Horse owners are advised to vaccinate their horses.
Residents are advised to use insect repellents and cover exposed skin when outdoors. They should also make sure windows and screen doors are sealed to prevent mosquitos from entering their homes.
⚠️ Eastern Equine Encephalitis confirmed in three PA counties.
Because of its high mortality rate in humans and horses, this mosquito-transmitted disease is regarded as one of the most serious in the United States.
— PA Department of Agriculture (@PAAgriculture) September 21, 2019
Here are some simple steps to eliminate standing water that could attract mosquitos:
• Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
• Clean roof gutters annually, particularly if leaves from nearby trees tend to clog the drains.
• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
• Do not let water stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and remove standing water from pool covers.
• Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
• Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti products, which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement, and other stores. Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life, and plants.
Click here for more information on the disease.