Eastern Equine Encephalitis detected in mosquito 06.30.2023

June 30, 2023

Eastern Equine Encephalitis detected in mosquito

MOBILE, Ala. – The Mobile County Health Department’s (MCHD) Vector Services division has mosquito traps spread throughout the community. These samples help inspectors not only track the species of the mosquito and provide estimates of the number present in a particular area, but these can also be tested for some viruses.

Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer of Mobile County, has announced that a mosquito collected in the 36582 ZIP Code has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

EEE is a form of mosquito-borne encephalitis. Although rare, EEE is very serious. Approximately 30 percent of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.

Vector Services (a vector is any insect, rodent, or animal capable of harboring or transmitting diseases to humans) will increase spraying and conduct door-to-door surveys in the immediate areas.

EEE is transmitted from bird to mosquito to the bird. Mosquitoes can spread these viruses by feeding on the blood of infected birds and then biting another host animal or mammal such as a human or a horse.

Although humans and horses can become ill from the infection, the diseases cannot be spread from people or horses. There is no vaccine available for humans. The likelihood of transmission to humans and horses can be decreased by personal mosquito avoidance and the use of an EEE or West Nile Virus (WNV) vaccine in horses.

“The Mobile County Health Department advises the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts by remembering to ‘Drain and Cover,’” Dr. Michaels said. Here are some tips to help deal with mosquitoes:

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots, or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items not being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools and keep appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or appropriate repellent.

  • Clothing – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
  • Repellent – Apply mosquito repellent appropriately.

o Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon   eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535 are effective.

o Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or clothing, but not under clothing.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. Do not apply directly to skin.
  • Some repellents are not suitable for children. Ensure repellent is safe for children and age appropriate:

o Mosquito repellents containing lemon eucalyptus oil or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of 3 years.

o DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.

o Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children.

o Parents should apply repellent to their hands first and then transfer to the child’s skin and clothing.

A new online portal is now available to help the public request assistance from Vector Services and receive feedback on their request to deal with mosquitoes or rodents. To learn more about the department, you may visit https://mchd.org/vector-control. From there, you can find a link and a QR code to access the new online portal for ordering services. The telephone numbers for those without internet access are 251-690-8124 for Mosquito Control and 251-690-8819 for Rodent Control.