Officials warn residents Augusta animal has serious virus, transmittable to people
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,"
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.
Saturday, August 30 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-08-30 23:17:41 GMT
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3933 Washington Road
Augusta, GA 30907