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Flomaton man dies from EEE

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER Managing editor
The Escambia County Health Department released information that an elderly man had passed away from an alleged case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) nearly a month ago.
According to Ricky Elliott, who is the environmental supervisor for the County Health Department, initial tests have revealed that an elderly male within the Flomaton area may have died from EEE. The elderly male, whose name could not be released, died late-June or early-July. A female patient from the Baldwin County community was being treated for EEE and is recovering.
According to Dr. John Kelliher with the ADPH, they were not able to get enough test information because the patient had already died.
Commissioner Ron Sparks announced this week that seven positive cases of EEE in horses have been found in South Alabama. Five horses were located in Baldwin County, one in Escambia County and one in Mobile County.
Elliott said that if test results show the elderly male died from EEE, it would be the third case in nearly three years that an individual died from EEE in Escambia County. The last case was detected in 2003.
EEE is transmitted by mosquitoes, causes swelling of the brain, onset of high fevers, tremors, headaches, disorientation, coma, convulsions and paralysis, sometimes followed by death. EEE poses a 30 percent fatality rate, with the greatest risk being to the elderly and children.
EEE, WNV, and other mosquito-borne viruses are transmitted from bird to mosquito to bird. Occasionally, when bird hosts are scarce, the same mosquitoes will take blood from mammals, including humans and horses. Humans and horses can sometimes become ill from the infection.
EEE cannot be transmitted from human to human. The likelihood of transmission to humans and horses can be decreased by personal mosquito avoidance and the use of EEE and WNV vaccine in horses. At this time there is no vaccine available for humans.
The Escambia County Health Department is continuing to test blue jays, crows and raptors. Free larvicide briquites are available at the Health Department in Atmore and Brewton, for application in areas with standing water. Ongoing adulticide spraying programs are being performed throughout Escambia County, by all municipalities and the Escambia County Commission.