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Eastern Equine Encephalitis Pest Alert from UF-IFAS

July 29, 2013

The following is a guest blog from UF-IFAS Entomology.

Are you familiar with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)?  EEE is vectored by mosquitoes and a concern for Florida residents, particularly during the summer months.  The Florida Department of Health posts weekly updates regarding various arbovirus diseases of concern, and the latest report is available at:

http://bit.ly/18N6yt8

Both Levy and Hillsborough counties each have a reported human case of EEE for 2013.

If you have not heard of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, you may suspect that it affects horses and you would be correct.  EEE has a high mortality rate and attacks the brain and central nervous system.  A horse vaccine is available.

The black-tailed mosquito, Culiseta melanura, is the primary vector of the disease within its primary host, birds.  The black-tailed mosquito does not commonly feed on humans or horses, but species such as the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus do.  While the Asian tiger mosquito, common in Florida, has been shown to be a competent vector of EEE in the lab, this has not translated to field transmission.  Nevertheless, the public should work to reduce thehabitat of the Asian tiger mosquito. Read the Featured Creatures on the Asian Tiger Mosquito by Rios and Maruniak for more information:

http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/asian_tiger.htm

EEE is generally considered a dead-end host within humans and horses.  In other words, the viral disease usually needs birds to replicate and to further transmit the disease through mosquito feeding activity.

Check out this UF-IFAS Extension EDIS article by Rey and Connelly for more information about EEE at:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in179

Other useful information and links about issues regarding mosquitos in Florida can be found through the University of Florida, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory: http://mosquito.ifas.ufl.edu/Fact_Sheets.htm .

We hope you continue to have a fun and safe summer, and enjoy the great outdoors!

Content for this UF-IFAS Pest Alert was prepared by DPM Graduate Student Eric LeVeen (eleveen@ufl.edu ) and Dr. Amanda Hodges (achodges@ufl.edu ).

More information on UF-IFAS Pest Alert is available at:  http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/pestalert/

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