Health officials in Wisconsin are warning about the dangers of a rare, mosquito-borne disease known as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) after a local woman died of an infection.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the woman, who has not been publicly identified, was in her 60s. “This is the second confirmed case of EEE in our state this year, and the severity of this infection cannot be reduced,” state health officer Stephanie Smiley warned in a news release. “As mosquitoes continue to be active in Wisconsin, we are urging people to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”
According to DHS, there have been nine reported cases of EEE in horses in Wisconsin this year. “These cases represent an unusually high level of EEE activity in the state between animals and now two residents of our community,” the release said.
EEE is not a transition that most people are familiar with, and it makes sense to question it. Here you have to know what the doctor says that you should not panic.
What is EEE?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infection known as encephalitis. The EEE virus can cause a systemic disease (meaning it can affect the entire body) or a neurological disease that can cause meningitis, an infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, or encephalitis, the brain An infection of, the CDC says, some people may experience an encephalitis first systemic form.
About 30 percent of people who contract EEE often die within 10 days of developing symptoms, the CDC says. Many of those who survived suffer from brain dysfunction.
What are the symptoms of EEE?
Symptoms of EEE virus vary depending on the form of infection taking. The CDC lists the following as symptoms of a systemic infection: fever, chills, malaise, joint pain, and muscle pain.
Meanwhile, symptoms of neurological disease may include fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, behavioral changes, drowsiness, or coma.
How common is it?
According to CDC data, EEE cases are not common in the US, where there are usually 11 or fewer incidents in people each year. However, 38 infections were documented by the CDC last year. “It’s a rare infection,” Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease specialist in Akron, Ohio and a professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Yahoo Life.
According to the CDC, there have been five reported cases of the disease so far in 2020.
How do people get infected with EEE?
The EEE virus is maintained in a cycle between birds and mosquitoes that usually bite them, the CDC explains. However, when select species of mosquitoes – such as Aedes, Coccletidia, or Culex – are infected, they can also infect humans and horses, both of which are considered “dead-end” hosts for the virus. This is because its concentration in their bloodstream is usually not high enough to sustain the cycle and infect mosquitoes, CDM says. The CDC states that the horse is also not considered a risk factor for spreading infection to humans.
While EEE is not common anywhere in the US, most cases have been reported in Massachusetts, Florida and Wisconsin, with a smattering in other states, mainly on the East Coast.
How is EEE treated?
While there is a vaccine for EEE in horses, there is none for humans, the CDC says. There is also no antiviral treatment for EEE. Dr. Vanderbilt University School Professor, an infectious disease specialist at Yahoo Life and Dr. William Shaffner says, “Supportive care can help you through it, but we can’t really do anything to change the progression of the disease.” “It’s all under prevention.”
Prevention includes using insect repellents that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and taking steps to control mosquitoes around their home, This includes keeping windows and doors closed and using air conditioning if possible. The CDC says. “It’s important to look at your field,” Scheffner says. “Go around your residence and look for any standing water, including small objects. Birdbaths and toys, if they contain water, can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. “
How worried should people be about this?
If you live in an area that has recently seen a case of EEE, Schaffner advises paying attention to guidelines issued by local health authorities. But the general public, she says, should just keep in mind that EEE exists and do its best to prevent mosquito bites. “Don’t panic,” he insists. “Risk is very, very low.”
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