Eastern Equine Encephalitis reports from Florida (2), and West Nile Virus reports from Nebraska, and West Virginia.

Florida 06/22/10 staugustine.com: by Jennifer Edwards – Eastern equine encephalitis has made its first appearance in the county this year, three months later than usual but no less deadly. The case was in a chicken in the Sampson area in northern St. Johns County, District Director Ruide Xue said. Xue blames dry weather for the delay in the arrival of the disease. Researchers confirmed the case Friday but did not announce it until Monday. The disease is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the nation, with a mortality rate of 33 percent in humans and significant brain damage in most survivors, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A handful of Floridians have died of the disease since 2001, including a 9-year-old boy and 40-year-old baseball coach, according to The Record archives. There have been no deaths in the county since at least 2000, according to the St. Johns County Health Department.

Florida 06/22/10 tcpalm.com: by Hillary Copsey – Martin County — Health officials are encouraging people to avoid mosquitoes after eastern equine encephalitis, a viral disease that causes severe illness in humans, horses and some birds, was detected in a sentinel chicken flock in south Stuart.  Eastern equine encephalitis is passed from mosquito bites to humans and, more commonly, horses. This is the first confirmed eastern equine encephalitis in Martin County in 30 years, according to the county Health Department.  The mosquito population around the county is quite low for this time of year, officials said. But the sentinel flock where the virus was found had been moved to that location recently.  “We might have just moved the chickens into a great spot to pick this up,” said Gene Lemire, Martin County Mosquito Control District manager. “This could just be the normal under current of disease, or we might have something to be concerned about. We won’t know until we have another chicken turn up.”

Since January, the virus has been confirmed in 19 sentinel chicken flocks around the state, mostly in central counties. One or two human cases of eastern equine encephalitis are reported each year, according to the state Department of Health.  Mosquito control district employees collect blood samples each week from sentinel chickens and send them to the county health department, which checks for a variety of mosquito-borne diseases. Now this specific virus has appeared in the county, health department staff will watch data from doctors and other medical providers for possible cases of eastern equine encephalitis while the mosquito control district increases its surveillance and prevention measures in the area. Although the virus is rare in humans, equine encephalitis kills one of every three people who contract it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The rest are likely to have lasting damage.

Nebraska 06/21/10 kxcm.com: A heads up from the Nebraska Department of Health. Chief Medical Officer Joann Schafer says mosquitoes are showing up with West Nile virus.  “We have had a couple mosquitoes caught with West Nile virus and right now we know that there is going to be some mosquitoes growth out there and most of them will be the nascence kind but we know that more mosquitoes that grow that virus will be out there so it is important that people take precautions.”  Dr. Schaefer says one of the most important things you can do is to get rid of their breeding grounds… which is standing water. If that doesn’t work, chemicals will.   “If they have standing water, get rid of it if they can. If they don’t, there is some larvae pesticide that they can use to eliminate the larvae and keep the mosquitoes from hatching.”  Dr. Schaefer says people need to take precautions so they are not bit or stung as well.  “They can wear DEET or eucalyptus oil on their skin, things like that to deter the mosquito or wear long sleeves, pants and socks when appropriate and then obviously we know that mosquitoes love dusk and dawn so if they can do a little bit of avoidance at that time, that goes a long way.”  Dr. Schaefer says residents of Nebraska will likely have to deal with battling West Nile for the rest of their lives.  “West Nile is here to stay. It is part of our landscape in our state so we are going to deal with it every year. It is a little bit early to be seen this time of year. We are now hatching mosquitoes and it is something we will have to deal with every year and do our best to get rid of them, keep the standing water to a minimum. Obviously it is a little more challenging with the floods so we are asking people to pay just a little more attention to it this time.”  Reports show West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes tested in Douglas and Lincoln Counties. No human cases have been reported.

West Virginia 0618/10 wwva.com: The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department says Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus have been found throughout county.  Mosquitoes carry the virus to humans from infected birds.  Most people who get West Nile virus never become ill, but some can develop a serious infection.  The recent detection is part of a county wide West Nile surveillance program that is actively trapping Mosquitoes and tests them for the virus.  So far no human cases of the virus have been reported.

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