Health alert in Mobile

A sentinel chicken used by the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) to detect mosquito-borne diseases in the community has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The coop was in the 36582 ZIP Code.

EEE, which is a form of mosquito-borne encephalitis, has been confirmed by laboratory results, according to Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, Health Officer for the Mobile County.

“There are no health benefits to being bitten by a mosquito,” Eichold said. “Don’t let your guard down. EEE has a human mortality rate of between 50 to 75 percent, while West Nile Virus is between 3 to 15 percent. EEE is a very serious mosquito-borne illness.”

The risk of encephalitis spread by mosquitoes is highest from August through the first freeze in the fall, Dr. Eichold said. MCHD’s Vector Control will step up control efforts in the surrounding area.

Blood is drawn from the sentinel chickens every Monday by Vector Control, and the samples are sent to a lab in Tampa, Florida. The results of the tests are available later in the week.

There were four EEE sentinel chicken cases reported in Mobile County during 2017, none in 2016 and one in 2015. In August 2018, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries reported a horse in Mobile County had tested positive for EEE.

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