JEFFERSON, Ohio  — The Ashtabula County Health Department urges area residents to take a number of steps to prevent further transmission of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in the county.

The county Health Department received notification this week from the Ohio Department of Health of a case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in a horse in Andover. The case of a 14-year-old Morgan filly was confirmed last week by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and state veterinarian Tony Forshey. The horse died Aug. 26.

“This is a serious disease and the vaccine is very effective on EEE and also the West Nile virus," he said. 

This was the first confirmed positive case of eastern equine encephalitis virus in a horse in Ohio this year.

EEE is caused by of virus transmitted by mosquitos and can cause severe inflammation of the brain, said Chris Kettunen, director of nursing and health education at the county Health Department in Jefferson.

"Ashtabula County Health Department nursing staff visited the Amish farm where the infected horse was kept and provided information to the family on eastern equine encephalitis in animals and humans," she said. "Information included how to protect animals from equine encephalitis viruses including vaccination, and information on measures to protect humans from equine encephalitis viruses."

Information regarding prevention of equine encephalitis was also provided to neighbors residing in the Amish community, she said. 

Kettunen said this confirmation of EEE in a horse in Ashtabula County should prompt county residents to take a number of steps to limit mosquito problems. These preventive steps may include:

• If outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, shoes and socks;

• Use Environmental Protection Agency registered mosquito repellent and follow label directions;

• Install or repair window screens;

• Eliminate standing water around your home;

• Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly, and

• Keep children's wading pools empty when not in use.

For more information, contact the Ashtabula County Health Department at (440) 576-3023 or (440) 576-6010.

Individuals can use the Ohio Relay Service if hearing or visually impaired. For TTY/TDD, please dial 711 or 800-676-4290.

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