Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough woman dies of eastern equine encephalitis

TAMPA — A Hillsborough woman has died of a rare, mosquito-borne disease that causes inflammation of the brain.

Hillsborough health officials on Tuesday announced the state's first death from eastern equine encephalitis since 2008. Only five to 10 cases each year are reported nationally.

In recent weeks, four horses in Hills­borough have tested positive for EEE, health officials said, increasing the potential for people to get infected.

The disease is transmitted by a mosquito bite. Symptoms can begin four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. They include sudden headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.

The disease can progress into disorientation, seizures and coma. There is no treatment specifically for an EEE infection. About a third of patients will die, and many of those who survive have brain damage, the Health Department noted.

"This tragic loss of life is a reminder that as we move through the summer months, we must all be aware of how we can protect ourselves from mosquito-borne diseases," Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the Hillsborough County Health Department, said in a statement.

Health officials declined to release additional information about the woman, who lived in northern Hillsborough County and died on July 1.

Early this morning, Hillsborough County's mosquito control department plans to spray pesticide by air in the North Tampa area, as it does regularly around the county during the summer rainy season.

The mosquito population is closely tied to weather patterns. When Hillsborough sees more water, it can expect greater mosquito activity, said Hillsborough County spokesman Willie Puz.

To protect yourself, health officials recommend the following:

• Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn.

• Wear clothing that covers your skin.

• Use mosquito repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other options.

• Check the drainage around your home. Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

Letitia Stein can be reached at or (813) 226-3322. For more health news, visit

Hillsborough woman dies of eastern equine encephalitis 07/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 6:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here

    The Heater


    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, they better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher they can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz keep paying tech expert suspected of stealing House computers?


    The following is from the Miami Herald:

  3. GOP senators blink on a big chance to repeal 'Obamacare'


    WASHINGTON — After seven years of emphatic campaign promises, Senate Republicans demonstrated Wednesday they don't have the stomach to repeal "Obamacare" when it really counts, as the Senate voted 55-45 to reject legislation undoing major portions of Barack Obama's law without replacing it.

    U.S. Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) talks with reporters as he walks to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
  4. Rick Baker's debate answer revives painful St. Pete controversy


    ST. PETERSBURG — Former Mayor Bill Foster fired one of his top administrators, Goliath Davis III, six years ago for disobeying an order to attend the funeral of a slain police officer.

    St. Petersburg police officers stand by two caskets before the beginning of the 2011 funeral services for Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  5. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday


    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]