HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania departments of agriculture and health reminded Pennsylvanians Oct. 4 to take every possible precaution against mosquito bites for themselves and their animals, especially horses.
Last month, the administration announced the confirmation of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a rare mosquito-transmitted viral infection, in Erie, Carbon and Monroe counties. As of this week, new cases have been confirmed in both Luzerne and Mercer counties.
The disease is a virus carried by birds. If a mosquito bites an infected bird, it can then transmit the potentially fatal virus to humans, horses and other birds. Because of the high mortality rate in horses and humans, it is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States.
To date in Pennsylvania, the following animal mortalities have been confirmed to be a result of EEE: one wild turkey in Waterford Township, Erie County; two horses in Mahoning Township, Carbon County; one horse in Fairmont Township, Luzerne County; one horse in Sandy Lake Township, Mercer County; and pheasants in Pocono Township, Monroe County.
No human cases have been identified in Pennsylvania this year. Since earlier in the week of Oct. 4, the Center for Disease Control confirmed 30 cases nationwide with 11 confirmed deaths. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to take every precaution to protect against this rare, neurological disease and immediately contact their physician or veterinarian if symptoms present.
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