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Eastern equine encephalitis: open lethal mosquito virus in Florida

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."

Only about seven cases of EEE viruses in humans are reported in the United States every year says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the disease can be fatal: about 30% of people who infect it die, according to the CDC. Many survivors have ongoing neurological problems.

People develop symptoms about 4 to 1
0 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, says CDC. Signs include sudden onset of headache, fever, chills and vomiting. More severe symptoms include disorientation, seizures and coma.

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.

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