Published on Thursday, August 1, 2019

Deadly mosquito borne virus detected in Florida

A new mosquito-borne threat has been discovered in the Sunshine State.

Researchers are warning residents about the little known Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) which they say has been discovered in Orange County.

Normally there are fewer than 10 cases of EEEV a year in the US but the virus is dangerous with a 30% fatality rate.

It can cause brain swelling in humans and survivors can have lasting neurological issues.

The Orange County Health Department said the 'risk of transmission to humans has increased' after chickens tested positive for the virus.

"Human cases are rare, but human cases are so bad. It's useful to be alert to what could change," said Sadie Ryan, professor at the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida.

Due to the climate, Florida is the only state where EEEV-carrying mosquitoes are present year-round, but scientists are warning it could have a bigger impact in years to come due to climate change.


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