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Brunswick County horse tests positive for EEE

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- A one-year-old Quarter horse colt that died in Brunswick County was confirmed as the 19th Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) positive horse in North Carolina for 2012 according to county health officials. North Carolina has experienced an active West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) activity this year.

This time of year hunters and other outdoorsmen should minimize their exposure to mosquitoes during outside activities especially during dusk and dawn.

"I spend a good deal of time in the woods this time of year myself," said David Stanley, Brunswick County Health Director. "We all need to be aware mosquito borne diseases can be prevented by taking personal protection measures."

Jeff Brown, Brunswick County Vector Control Supervisor, points out "the mosquitoes that spread EEE aren't normally breeding in containers. That means you should pay particularly close attention to avoiding mosquito bites at all costs."

Mosquitoes that spread EEE are species that are found in fresh water floodplains or saltwater marshes.

"I have been asked if you can become infected with WNV or EEE from eating infected meat," Stanley said. "I always say no but the meat must be cooked or dried properly."

The extent to which WNV or EEE may be present in wild game is unknown. The small, theoretical risk of infection can be eliminated by proper handling and thorough cooking of meat before it is consumed. Several well-known and potentially serious food-borne illnesses can occur when turkey and other meats are improperly handled or undercooked.

Hunters should follow the usual precautions when handling wild animals. Hunters should wear gloves when handling and cleaning animals to prevent blood exposure to bare hands and meat should be cooked thoroughly.

Be sure to protect yourself from mosquito bites. For more information about mosquitoes, please call the Brunswick County Health Department at (888) 428-4429.

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