Orange County officials warn residents after three chickens contract mosquito-borne virus


  • Photo by James Gathany of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you live in Orange County, you’re at increased risk of catching a mosquito-borne illness, according to health officials.

The Orange County Department of Health on Wednesday released an advisory warning residents that “the risk of transmission to humans has increased" because of an uptick in mosquito-borne disease cases.

Three sentinel chickens in the county tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis virus, according to Kent Donahue, Orange County department of health spokesman.

“The important point is, EEEV has been confirm(ed),” Donahue wrote in an email. “All residents in Orange County and visitors should take steps to protect themselves.” No human cases have been confirmed.

Protective measures include wearing clothing that covers the skin, spraying on repellant, and assuring any objects outside the home do not hold standing water.

Eastern equine encephalitis virus can cause a rare disease that leads to brain infections, with an average of seven human cases reported annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Roughly one in three of those with the disease die and “many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems,” the CDC stated.

Florida has topped the list of reported human cases for the past decade, counting 13 cases from 2009-2018, according to the CDC. Massachusetts was behind Florida with 10, while New York had eight.

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