If things are looking smoky around the Joint Base, there's a good reason.

Following a summer where several horses in Monmouth and Ocean County and the state were diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a mosquito carrying the disease has been spotted in the housing area of the McGuire section of the Joint Base.

JBMDL officials are now using a fogging machine to smoke out the mosquitoes.

As a precaution, JBMDL officials say they've increased monitoring activities and are treating those areas considered the most fertile breeding grounds for the specific mosquito species of concern.

Fogging will be used on a limited basis in and around the wooded areas of United Communities Housing from midnight to 4:00 a.m. until September 29.

Joint Base officials say that although the treatment is safe for populated areas and is approved by the Air Force Bioenvironmental program, residents are advised to remain indoors with their windows and doors closed during these hours.

Transmission of the disease to humans is extremely rare, but serious.

In addition public health professionals recommend the following methods to prevent contracting mosquito-borne EEE:

• Limit time outside especially during dawn and dusk and at night. The specific species of mosquito of concern is most active during nighttime hours.

• Use DEET on exposed skin.

• Wear clothing that protects the arms and legs when outside. If possible, tuck pant legs into shoes or socks.

• Clothing can also be treated with permethrin (a mosquito repellent available at sporting good stores). Some utility uniforms will be pre-treated with permethrin. Uniform labels will provide the specific information about pre-treatment.

• Eliminate sources of standing water. If the sources of standing water are at your workplace, report them to supervisors for abatement.

•Ensure that window/door screens are in good repair.

EEE causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death in horses than West Nile Virus infection.

West Nile virus is a viral disease that affects horses’ neurological system and is transmitted by a mosquito bite.

The virus spreads between birds and mosquitoes with horses and humans being incidental hosts.

EEE infections in horses are not a significant risk factor for human infection because horses (like humans) are considered to be "dead-end" hosts for the virus, according to NJ Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher.

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