Mosquitoes test positive for rare but potentially deadly virus in Georgia

VALDOSTA, Ga. — Health officials say two mosquito pools in South Georgia have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis.

EEE is a virus that is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year.

Although rare, EEE is very serious. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurological problems.

There are no vaccines to prevent EEE or medicines to treat it.


Here are some ways you can help prevent getting bitten by a mosquito:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when the weather permits.
  • Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets, barrels, wading pools and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.
  • Be sure to use repellent and wear protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider indoor activities during these times due to peak mosquito-biting hours.

“While it is not uncommon for mosquito-borne illnesses to be identified within our communities this time of year, it is important that we not become complacent to the risks,” said Kenneth Lowery, the district epidemiologist with Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District. “Avoiding going outside during peak mosquito times and making sure you are taking precautions when you are outside are the best defenses against mosquito-borne illnesses.”

To learn more about EEE, CLICK HERE.