Deadly mosquito-borne virus detected in Florida, health officials say

A mosquito bite can become swollen and even cause fevers among children.

FLORIDA — Action News Jax's Brittney Donovan will have a live report from the Duval County Health Department to see if any cases have been reported in our area on CBS47 at 5:

A deadly mosquito-borne illness has been detected in Florida and could cause brain swelling in humans, according to Florida health officials.

That virus is known as Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEEV, and is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County said in a Thursday statement --  that several sentinel chickens tested positive for EEEV, which can spread to humans via infected mosquitoes and cause brain infection and swelling, CNN stated.

The health department said the risk of transmission to humans has increased -- after animals tested positive for the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 cases of EEEV have been reported in Florida between the years of 2009 and 2018. Those over age 50 and under age 15 have the greatest risk for developing severe disease when infected with EEEV, the CDC stated.

"People who live in or visit woodland habitats, and people who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities" also have the highest risk for get infected due to their exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes, according to the CDC.

Approximately 30% of people with EEEV die and many survivors have ongoing neurological problems.

Signs and symptoms of the disease develop over four to 10 days. They include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions and coma.

Officials are urging people to drain standing water around their homes, cover skin with clothing or repellent, and use screens to cover doors and windows -- to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

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