Mosquito-Born Diseases

In the summer months and into fall, people in Alachua County can contract two potentially fatal diseases from mosquito bites. They are: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). Fatality rates are 40% for EEE and 15% for WNV. Onset is acute with headache, fever, altered mental status, delirium, coma, and death. There is no treatment for the disease. Horses are also affected; however, a vaccine is available for both diseases for equines.

Prevention at the personal level is the key to not acquiring a mosquito borne disease both here and in any area. Most of the mosquitoes that transmit encephalitis (not all mosquitoes transmit diseases of any type) feed primarily at dusk and at dawn.

Mosquito Borne Disease Prevention Tips:

  • Limit your activities during the prime feeding hours for these species of mosquitoes.
  • If you are out at theses times, wear barrier clothing such as long sleeve shirts, pants and socks.
  • Use of mosquito repellant containing DEET in accordance with manufacturer's directions (more is not necessarily better).
  • Control of mosquito breeding sites around the home and play areas. This includes plants that naturally hold water, pots, wading pools, tires, and clogged gutters.
  • Maintain screening to prevent mosquito entry.

While other animals can be infected, the viruses do not pose a problem for them. Birds, which serve as amplifiers of the virus, can die from West Nile. If you find a dead bird (particularly crows and blue jays), please contact the Alachua County Health Department, Environmental Health Section at 352-334-7931.

If you have any other questions regarding encephalitis, please contact the Alachua County Health Department, Epidemiology Section at 352-334-7981.

Preparedness Brochures: