How to Stop the EEE Virus

Опубликовал Admin
14-02-2021, 00:40
The EEE virus, short for eastern equine encephalitis, is a mosquito-borne disease that affects humans and horses. Symptoms of an infection typically start 4-10 days after the victim is bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. An EEE infection can cause a systemic illness with a fever, and can also cause meningitis (an infection of the membranes around the brain) or encephalitis (an infection of the brain itself). According to the CDC, about 7 human cases of EEE virus infection are reported per year. This is a rare but serious illness, so take steps to stop the disease from spreading. The best prevention method is limiting your exposure to mosquito bites. Wear insect repellent and cover your skin while you’re outdoors. Remove all standing water around your home, which prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs. If you keep horses, put them on an EEE vaccination schedule and protect them from mosquito bites. By following these simple steps, you can stop the spread of the EEE virus.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

  1. Put on DEET-containing insect repellent while outdoors. The best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is with a high-quality insect repellent. Look for a product containing DEET, the most effective active ingredient in insect repellents. Whenever you go outside during the spring and summer months, rub the repellent on all of your exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites.
    • Don’t spray repellent on skin that will be covered by your clothes. This can irritate your skin.
    • Repellents usually contain between 10% and 30% DEET. This makes a difference for how long the product lasts. Lower percentages keep insects away for about 2 hours, while higher levels are effective for up to 5 hours. Reapply the repellent as needed.
    • Remember to wash the repellent off when you’re back inside for the day.
    • If you have sensitive skin, some natural insect repellents are effective. Products with lemon eucalyptus are the best choice for keeping bugs away. You can buy these from outdoor goods stores or online. Other DEET alternatives approved by the EPA include picaridin, para-menthane-diol (PMD), and 2-undecanone.
  2. Wear long sleeves and pants when you’re in wooded areas. If you’re out on a hike or cleaning a wooded area, then repellent may not be enough. In these cases, physically cover your skin with long sleeves and pants. Also wear high socks to prevent insects from getting inside your pants. If you’re in an especially buggy area, tuck your pants into your socks for added protection.
    • Head nets are another good physical protection from mosquitoes. Try wearing one in very buggy areas.
    • Covering yourself is important to protect yourself from other pests as well, like ticks, which can also spread diseases.
    • If you’re wearing long clothes, remember to still cover exposed skin with repellent, like your neck and face.
  3. Treat your clothes with permethrin to repel mosquitoes. Permethrin is an insecticide that repels and kills mosquitoes and other bugs. If you spend a lot of time outside, treating your clothes with permethrin can help protect you from mosquito bites. Hang the clothing outside. Hold the bottle of permethrin 6 inches (15 cm) from the clothes and spray in a sweeping motion. Treat each side of the clothes for 30 seconds. Let the clothes air out before wearing them.
    • A permethrin treatment can last 5-10 washes, depending on the product, so reapply it if you use your clothes often. It also loses its effectiveness over time even if you don’t wash the clothes.
    • There are also pre-treated clothes that contain permethrin. Look for these items if you don’t want to spray the clothes yourself. They are available from outdoor goods stores and on the internet.
    • Permethrin is safe for humans to use and has not been shown to cause cancer or other adverse effects. However, it is very toxic to some animals, such as cats, fish, and beneficial insects like honeybees, so use it cautiously around pets and wildlife.
  4. Take extra precautions if you live on the Atlantic coast of the US. The EEE virus affects more people in the eastern U.S. than other places. So, while you should always take precautions to avoid mosquito exposure, it's especially important if you live in this area. Always use insect repellent and cover your skin if you're outdoors during the summer months.
    • The top 3 locations for EEE infections over the last 10 years are Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.
    • There are also some infections in the Great Lakes region of the U.S.

Keeping Mosquitoes out of Your Home

  1. Remove all standing water from your property once a week. Mosquitoes nest and lay eggs in stagnant water. Search your property once a week and get rid of any standing water sources. Common sources are buckets, loose tarps, clogged gutters, and puddles. Dump or drain all of the standing water on your property to take away the mosquitoes’ breeding areas.
    • If you have puddles in your yard, add some organic soil mixture to soak up the water. If you consistently have poor drainage problems on your property, consult with a landscaper about improving the topsoil so water doesn't pool.
    • Remember to look after it rains as well.
    • Take steps to prevent water from pooling. Upturn buckets, pull tarps tight, and fill in holes to remove water-pooling areas.
    • Keep pools treated with chlorine to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in them.
  2. Clean your gutters to ensure proper drainage. Clogged gutters are an often-overlooked source of standing water. Check your gutters for leaves and debris that block drainage. Clean the gutters thoroughly so water doesn’t pool.
    • If you live in a very buggy area, try to run your gutters away from your property so the drainage doesn’t pool near your home.
  3. Repair any holes in your screens and windows. Holes in screens, doors, and windows let mosquitoes in that can then bite you inside your home. Go through your home to find any holes that insects could get in through. Repair or replace any damaged screens and windows.
    • Remember that mosquitos don’t need a lot of room to get in. Even small tears in the screen need fixing.
    • If any of your windows don’t have screens, install them as soon as possible. Leaving windows open lets mosquitoes into your home.
  4. Cover water-storage materials to prevent mosquitoes from nesting in them. If you collect rain or store water on your property, make sure the containers are covered and sealed so mosquitoes can’t nest in them. For rain catchers, use a screen cover that lets water in but keeps insects out.
    • Keep wells and groundwater sources covered as well. These are popular mosquito breeding areas.

Protecting Your Horses from the Virus

  1. Vaccinate your horses against EEE. There is fortunately a vaccine that protects horses from EEE. If you keep horses, then put them on a vaccination schedule. The schedule depends on the type and age of the horse, and usually involves a series of vaccinations several weeks apart. Speak with your veterinarian for the ideal vaccine schedule for your horses.
    • You can purchase and administer the vaccinations yourself. If you aren’t confident in your ability to vaccinate a horse, either bring your horse to the vet’s office or have them come to your property.
  2. Use mosquito repellent on your horses to prevent bites. Just like for people, insect repellent can keep mosquitoes away from your horses and prevent bites. Look for insect repellent designed for horses and apply it regularly when your horse is outdoors. Remember to apply it before taking your horse out for a ride, especially if you’re going through a wooded area.
    • Be careful not to get any spray in your horse’s eyes.
    • Focus on areas of the horse that you recently trimmed. The horse will have less hair there to guard its skin from mosquitoes.
  3. Cover your horses with a fly sheet. A fly sheet is like a jacket for your horse that prevents insects from biting it. If you live in an especially buggy area, this may be your best option for protecting the horse from mosquitoes. Get a fly sheet that fits your horse and put it on whenever your horse is outside.
    • As a special bonus, these sheets also protect your horse from the sun’s rays and preserve its coat color.
    • Remove the sheet daily and inspect your horse’s skin for any cuts. Also wash out the sheet to make sure nothing gets trapped between the sheet and your horse’s skin.
  4. Bring bats to your property to reduce the mosquito population. Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour, so a bat population on your property can reduce the mosquito population significantly. Attracting bats can be difficult since they’re wild animals, but setting up a good bat house increases your chances of maintaining bats on your property.
    • Set up the bat house at a high point, like on a pole or on top of a barn. Make sure the house protects bats from the rain and other elements and is warm on the inside.
    • If your bat house is unoccupied for more than 2 years, consider moving it to a new location.
    • Make sure you really want bats on your property before attracting them. They can be difficult to get rid of once they find a spot they like. Bats have excellent navigation skills and even if they’re removed, they might find their way back.
    • Remember that bats can potentially carry rabies. If you get bitten by a bat, see a doctor immediately.
  5. Keep horses inside during the peak hours of mosquito activity. Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. Keep your horses in after sunset to limit their exposure to mosquito bites.
    • Make sure your housing areas for horses doesn’t have leaks or openings that mosquitoes can get into.


  • Eastern equine encephalitis is only transferred from mosquitoes to people and cannot spread person-to-person. If someone you know does get sick, you don’t have to worry about catching it if you spend time with them.
  • Remember that human infections of the EEE are very rare. Since 2009, there have only been 3-15 cases per year in the U.S. While you should always be vigilant about preventing mosquito-borne diseases, don’t panic.


  • While rare, EEE is a serious illness that requires medical treatment. If you or someone you know displays symptoms, take them to see a doctor right away.
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