Panama City Beach area chickens have tested positive for West Nile Virus and two horses in Jefferson have contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The Florida Department of Health is warning the viruses are transmitted through mosquito bites.
Symptoms of West Nile can include headaches, rash, fever, vomiting, and body aches. Less than one percent of victims develop a serious neurological illness, but the Department of Health is emphasizing preventative measures. Bay County Environmental Health Specialist Michael Templin is encouraging residents to “Drain and Cover.”
He says, “Now’s a good time to start paying attention to protecting yourself from mosquitoes by either applying repellent or wearing loose clothing or clothing that’s thick enough to keep mosquitoes from getting you through it, and also making sure that you drain standing water you have around your property, which is where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs.”
Meanwhile, two horses in Jefferson tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which is rare in transmission to humans but can be more severe than West Nile. Most people who contract the two viruses recover within a few weeks, but immunocompromised patients like infants and the elderly are at risk of coma and death.