Eastern equine encephalitis reported in Alabama and New York, causes one death | Health - Hindustan Times
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Rare mosquito-borne illness eastern equine encephalitis reported in Alabama and New York, causes one death

By, New Delhi
Aug 23, 2023 11:20 AM IST

Eastern equine encephalitis is rare in the US and only few cases are reported every year 30 per cent of which could turn fatal and may have severe symptoms.

Mosquito-borne illnesses continue to wreak havoc in several parts of the globe. Adding to the list is a rare mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis, reported in the US states of Alabama and New York which has even resulted in a fatality, reported CNN. While Alabama has reported a few cases in human, in New York the virus has been founds in mosquitoes and horses. (Also read: Malaria in US: First locally acquired malaria case found in Maryland after 40 years; know all about the disease)

Starting from high fever, headache, chills and nausea, eastern equine encephalitis can progress to seizures, disorientation, and coma. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Starting from high fever, headache, chills and nausea, eastern equine encephalitis can progress to seizures, disorientation, and coma. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The report further said that Alabama's Department of Public Health has informed that cases in the state have been reported in Baldwin County in the past few weeks. Eastern equine encephalitis is rare in the US and only few cases are reported every year 30 per cent of which could turn fatal and may have severe symptoms.

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Symptoms of eastern equine encephalitis

Starting from high fever, headache, chills and nausea, it can progress to seizures, disorientation, and coma. The survivors may face neurological issues. People in the age group of above 50 and under 15 are said to be more at risk.

Not all people who contract the virus show symptoms and many people infected with eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus remain asymptomatic. The incubation period for those who display symptoms ranges from 4 to 10 days.

Severe symptoms of eastern equine encephalitis

It is the virus's impact on neurological health that's more concerning and can also leave an imprint even after recovery.

As many as a third of people with the disease die and death usually occurs from 2 to 10 days after symptom onset. Even after recovery, people may face long-term physical or mental impairments ranging from mild brain dysfunction to severe intellectual impairment, personality disorders, seizures, paralysis, and cranial nerve dysfunction.

Is there any treatment for eastern equine encephalitis?

There are no vaccines available to treat the disease. Precautionary measures are important. It has been advised to prevent mosquito bites and follow measures such as stopping mosquito breeding, applying repellents, and wearing full-sleeved shirt and full pants that cover the body. It is important to empty containers like flower pots, and uncovered water storage, as mosquitoes breed in such areas, to prevent mosquito breeding.

“While most people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop any symptoms, severe cases begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, encephalitis and coma.” said The New York health department as quoted by CNN.

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