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FAST FACTS: Encephalitis And Prevention Tips

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(CBS4) — Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV) is rare in humans. It is one of a group of viruses that can cause inflammation of the brain, seizures, fever, muscle pains, severe headaches and vomiting.

  • Symptoms generally develop between three and ten days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. They can become more severe over the course of one to two weeks.
  • Approximately one-third of people with encephalitis caused by EEEV will die from the disease; making it one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. Of those who recover, many will suffer lasting effects.
  • The Center for Disease Control reports that most people infected with EEEV have no apparent illness. But the severe cases begin with the following symptoms: headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may progress causing disorientation, seizures or even a coma. There is no specific treatment for it and healthcare professionals treat it based on the patient’s symptoms.
  • The CDC suggests reducing the risk by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing and staying indoors while mosquitoes are most active.
  • The disease is spread by mosquitoes to horses and humans via migratory birds. Once infected, humans and horses are not contagious and can’t spread the disease. Mosquitoes carry the disease from an ill animal to a human or other animals.
  • There is currently no treatment for the disease, although a vaccine has been developed and is in use in horses. It is strongly recommended that horse owners vaccinate their horses; the fatality rate in equines is 80-90 percent.
  • The people most at risk are those who live in or visit woodland areas or those who spent a large amount of time outdoors. People under the age of 15 and over 50 appear to be at greatest risk for the most severe symptoms.

SOURCE: Center for Disease Control

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