Florida Health Officials Warn Of Mosquito-Borne Virus That Causes Brain Swelling And Death

(Photo Credit: James Gathany/CDC)

Watch out for mosquitoes this summer

Florida residents and tourists beware; health officials are warning of a mosquito-borne virus known as Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Several sentinel chickens tested positive for the virus, 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 statement.

About seven cases of the EEE virus in humans are reported in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and while the numbers may be low, the disease can prove to be fatal: about 30 percent of people who contract the virus run the risk of dying. Those that do not die end up having ongoing neurologic problems.

Once bitten by the infected mosquito, symptoms develop in about four to 10 days. Signs include sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. More severe symptoms include disorientation, seizures, and coma.

Florida health officials are issuing warnings on how to avoid being bitten by draining standing water around their homes and workplaces, covering the skin with clothing or spraying bug repellant, and using screens to cover doors and windows.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so everyone in Florida should take the necessary precautions to avoid possibly getting bitten by virus-infected mosquitos.

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