Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Orange County, Florida, just released a public advisory warning that the Department of Health had found signs of the rare brain-infecting virus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) in the area.
EEEV is a particularly rare infection, it tends to spread in remote, swampy areas far from human civilization. But when the disease does strike, it can be grave: Gizmodo reports that a bite from an infected mosquito can cause severe, fatal brain swelling in a matter of days.
Health Department officials found EEEV in a flock of sentinel chickens, which local governments use to monitor and track infectious diseases, according to the warning, which included a list of steps people can take to prevent mosquito populations from growing.
If the sentinel chickens are getting bit, that means human infections could follow close behind, according to Gizmodo.
Unfortunately, mosquito-borne illness will likely spread farther into human-populated areas as our planet continues to heat up through climate change, per Gizmodo.
While EEEV is rare and human infections that lead to dangerous symptoms are even rarer, scientists have yet to figure out a vaccine or treatment for the disease, posing a problem for our warmer future.