Mosquito-borne virus warning for Polk Co. residents

- The Department of Health in Polk County is warning residents of an increase in mosquito-borne diseases in the area.

It said two horses and a chicken tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) since mid-June, and the risk of transmission to humans has increased.

According to the CDC, EEEV is rare in humans and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Someone infected with EEEV may have no apparent illness, but severe cases could begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brai.

Polk County officials said residents and visitors should continue to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.

Polk County Mosquito Control and DOH-Polk continues surveillance and prevention efforts.

The DOH provided these tips to curb mosquito populations and limit human exposure to the bugs:

- Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
- Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't 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 in good condition and appropriately chlorinated.
- Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
- Clothing - Wear shoes, socks, and 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 to bare skin and clothing.
- Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
- 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.

For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency's search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform.

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