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Health Unit identifies two new cases of dangerous “EEEV” virus in local horses

Make sure you apply bug spray before you go outside. 

That’s a message from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, after the organization found two new cases of “eastern equine encephalitis virus,” or EEEV, in horses. 

The virus is mostly found in birds, but spreads to humans and horses through mosquito bites, similar to West Nile Virus. While it’s rare for the virus to spread to humans, staff say it can cause “a serious neurological disease” or even death in all age groups. 

Another case was identified in the region in early August. Staff members say cases have also been identified in other nearby regions like Ottawa and Kawartha Lakes. 

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Since no vaccine exists against the virus for humans, they say you should take precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Besides using bug spray, they say you should make sure all the doors, windows and screens in your home seal properly, to prevent insects from getting in. 

Other steps to protect yourself including wearing light-colored clothing that covers as much skin as possible when you’re outdoors, getting rid of any standing water on your property, and staying inside at dawn and dusk, since that’s when mosquitoes are most active. 

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