Augusta animal has serious virus, transmittable to people - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Officials warn residents Augusta animal has serious virus, transmittable to people

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McBEAN, GA (WFXG) -

Richmond County health officials say an animal has tested positive for a serious and rare virus called Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE.

The infected animal is in the McBean, Mike Padgett area and Friday Richmond County Mosquito Control officials warned nearby residents of the health risk.

Richmond County Environmental Health Manager Randy Wishard said they're encouraging neighbors to, "avoid the mosquito, especially dusk to dawn."

Wishard says mosquitoes in the area could be carrying a dangerous disease.

"Triple E is contracted from a mosquito. The normal cycle is from a bird to a mosquito," said Wishard.

As the pesky little insects find dinner, EEE can be passed on to other animals and in rare cases, people.

"It's bad. It's a bad deal," said Alan Miller who lives in the area where health officials discovered the animal infected with EEE.

The disease is treatable in animals, but there is no treatment for people.

People who are infected with the virus show symptoms of a flu like illness. As the disease progresses, people can slip into a coma and eventually die.

Miller says they already have trouble with mosquitoes in the area.

"There are tons of mosquitoes out here. I can see them flying around at here at night; I can see them flying around. But they don't bother me too badly, but they'll eat the old lady up. She has to go into the house," Miller, said.

Now that he's heard the concerns of health officials he says he understands the health risks.

"I've never heard of it, if that fellow never showed up I would have never known anything about it," Miller, said.

Health officials say the best way to protect animals from the disease is to vaccinate them, especially horses.

Experts say people should spray on insect repellent containing DEET, wear long sleeves and pants and remove spots where mosquitoes breed.

Officials say it's rare to see EEE in the area, they say the last time they saw the virus was in an animal in Burke County last year.

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