Two horses test positive for mosquito-borne illness in Tampa

Another mosquito-borne illness has been detected in Tampa, an this time in two horses living in Northwest Hillsborough County. 

They tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, which is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. No cases have been detected in humans, but it has prompted more response efforts, and calls for preventative measures. 

The department of health is working closely with Hillsborough Mosquito Management, which set traps in the impacted area, so they can determine which species is carrying the virus. 

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Hillsborough Mosquito Management has an entire team dedicated to research and prevention efforts, including Project Coordinator Alexa Patrizio. She said there are about 40 species in Hillsborough County. 

"Each one likes a different habitat, can carry different diseases, likes to bite a different animal," Patrizio said. "So, it's just really important for all of that to come together and for us to be able to try to mitigate the mosquito population."

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The team test chickens at coops across the county for disease, spray certain areas and breed mosquito fish that eat larva. Despite their efforts, the first one who can prevent mosquitoes from reproducing near your home is you. 

"Believe it or not, they can lay their eggs in something as small as a bottle cap," said Ryan Terry with the Florida Department of Health Hillsborough. "So it's very important to drain the water around your house. If you drain and cover items that retain water after it rains, then you will make a significant impact."