Several chickens with a clock test are positive for EEE, which can spread to humans through infected mosquitoes and cause brain infection and swelling, a statement said on Thursday at the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. Sentinel chickens are birds that are tested regularly for the West Nile virus and EEE. Their blood can show the disease, but they do not suffer from the impact of the viruses.
Following the positive tests for guinea pigs in Orange County, the health department said that "the risk of human transmission is increasing."
However, the disease can be fatal: about 30% of people who infect it die, according to the CDC. Many survivors have ongoing neurological problems.
At summer, mosquitoes buzz around in peak populations. Officials have warned people to avoid being biting by draining standing water around their homes, covering the skin with clothing or repellent, and using screens to cover doors and windows.