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One horse tests positive for Eastern equine encephalitis

HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton has received notice of a horse testing positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. This is the first report of a horse testing positive for the virus in Hamilton.

To date, there have been no reports of human illness caused by EEE virus in Hamilton.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a virus that is typically found in wild birds. Humans or horses bitten by an infected mosquito can get ill with EEE virus. While most people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop symptoms, in severe cases of illness, a person can have a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into more severe illness that can include disorientation, seizures, encephalitis and coma.

“While the risk of being infected with Eastern equine encephalitis virus is low, this serves as good reminder to residents to please continue to take precautions to avoid illness spread by mosquitoes, and other vectors. Just like with West Nile virus, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites by applying insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin, covering up, and to also remove standing water on your property to prevent mosquitoes breeding. The risk of these infections will drop once there is a heavy frost that reduces the number of mosquitoes.” - Dr. Bart Harvey, public health physician

How to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes

  • Use a mosquito repellent (bug spray) containing DEET or Icaridin.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes are known to be present, or cover up by wearing light coloured long sleeves and long pants when in mosquito areas such as wooded areas, on the golf course, or in the garden, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water at least weekly from your property

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