An animal near McBean has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis, and officials are warning residents to protect themselves from infection.
The virus is rare in humans, and only a few cases are reported each year in the United States. It is the most severe mosquito-transmitted virus in the U.S., with a 33 percent mortality rate, and can result in significant brain damage in most survivors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most people infected with the virus have no apparent illness. Symptoms sometimes start with sudden onset of headaches, high fever, chills and vomiting and can progress into disorientation, seizures or coma.
It takes about four to 10 days after being bitten for symptoms to develop.
According to Richmond County Mosquito Control, there is no vaccine or preventative drug for humans; however, veterinarians can vaccinate horses against it and West Nile virus.
People should use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on their skin and clothing, wear long sleeves and pants, have secure screens on windows and doors, and eliminate mosquito breeding places.
Standing water in flower pots, buckets, barrels and other containers is breeding grounds for mosquitoes.