Farmers Market not over yet

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 6, 2003

The Butler County Farmers Market will continue to be open until the end of October. On Saturdays and Tuesdays the market is at the Kiwanis Fairgrounds in Greenville. The market is held at the Hank Williams Pavilion in Georgiana each Thursday. Each site is open no later than 7:30 a.m. Many vendors arrive earlier and make sales as soon as they arrive. We have had a good season thus far. I encourage you to visit the market locations early to have a good selection.

Protect Self and Animals from Mosquito-Borne Diseases: It is critical that citizens protect both themselves and their horses from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Alabama public health officials have confirmed a fatal case of EEE in a young Escambia County resident. EEE was identified in Butler County near Georgiana where several emu were lost to the virus.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus has been identified in 21 counties, primarily in the southern part of the state. People need to take personal precautionary measures to avoid exposure to mosquitoes. Avoiding mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites will help protect individuals from EEE, West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne viruses that occur in Alabama.

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These mosquito-borne viruses are not spread person-to-person, horse-to-person, or horse-to-horse. Birds are the source of infection for mosquitoes. You get the disease by being bitten by an infected mosquito.

All Alabamians should assume that mosquitoes infected with mosquito-borne virus are in their communities. The risk of disease from mosquito bites will probably increase and only subside when a freeze in late fall kills the mosquitoes.

Symptoms usually appear four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of encephalitis may include fever, headache, confusion, disorientation, stupor, tremors, and convulsions. The virus may cause paralysis, coma, and death. The seriousness of the illness may depend on a person's health and age.

EEE is most severe in both the young and the elderly. EEE in humans can have a mortality rate as high as 30 percent, considerably higher than that seen with West Nile virus. There is no human vaccine for EEE.

There is little reason for a horse to contract EEE because there is a safe and inexpensive vaccine available. Horse owners in Alabama should vaccinate their horses twice a year for EEE or sleeping sickness. Owners should get EEE boosters now for their horses and again in six months.

EEE is far worse than West Nile in horses. The mortality rate of horses infected with EEE is over 90 percent; while the mortality rate with West Nile is about 30 to 40 percent.

EEE is characterized by the progressive failure of the horse's central nervous system.

Russty Parrish is a County Extension Agent and can be reached at 382-5111.