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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
The Alabama Departments of Public Health and Agriculture have confirmed four positive cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis also known as EEE in horses in Dallas county. There have been additional cases in Elmore and Montgomery counties.
"I have three horses of my own," Alabama Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian Dr. Toney Frazier said.
He says July through September are the months we start to see these cases.
"Especially in south Alabama just about every year," Dr. Frazier said.
Dr. Frazier says in 2010 there were 12 cases of EEE.
He says it's similar to the West Nile virus because mosquitoes transmit it. He says EEE is more deadly. And the same mosquitoes that infect animals pose a risk to us.
"They're searching for more and more of a food source. They seek out humans. They seek out horses and they seek out birds," Dr. Fraizer said.
He's encouraging horse owners to get their horses vaccinated twice a year if possible.
"You want vaccine to be staged a little bit ahead of the mosquito season," Dr. Fraizer said.
And for us, Dr. Fraizer says to avoid those areas where mosquitoes may populate, especially objects that hold standing water.
"Avoid the mosquitoes and reduce the areas they may be breeding. If we don't change that pretty regularly, water baths will breed mosquitoes," Dr. Fraizer said.
Here are a few Department of Public Health tips:
-Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes to help prevent mosquitoes from reaching your skin and to retain less heat.
-I know it's hot but when possible, wear long sleeves and long pants.
-Using deet repellent spray is also recommended.
Right now, there's no cause for alarm, just caution. Health officials say only two human cases of EEE have been reported over the last four years. As for the West Nile virus, only 50 reported cases.