A rare but fatal mosquito-borne virus has been found in various parts of the US, with the researchers blaming the combination of warmer winters and rainy weather for it.
The deadly virus, known as EEE or Eastern equine encephalitis, mainly infects birds and horses. However, there are instances when the virus could infect humans, often causing severe neurological issues.
As per the Massachusetts Public Health Department officials, the risk of the EEE virus has increased in many of the state’s communities. A case of death from the virus has been recorded in the state so far, with 3 other confirmed cases.
On the other hand, health officials of Michigan have confirmed an EEE case in a teen girl. They are currently probing into other possible EEE cases.
Additionally, 3 confirmed cases of the deadly virus in horses have been detected in Massachusetts, 2 in Connecticut and 6 in Michigan respectively. The mosquito samples further reveal that the virus has spread across New Hampshire as well.
According to the CDC, it generally gets reports of around 7 cases each year. This implies that the no. of reported EEE cases till now in 2019 fall in line along with what is expected.
There is no indication that this is actually an EEE outbreak year, as per medical epidemiologist with the CDC, Carolyn Gould said. She further said that in a few years, the highest no. of cases reported stand at 15.
Many people who get infected with the virus don’t actually know about it, said the CDC. Less than 5% actually suffer from encephalitis, said Gould.
However, for those that do fall sick, the disease is quick and devastation. Notably, the common symptoms of EEE include high fever, headache, vomiting, and chills.
The person begins experiencing these symptoms four to ten days after getting bitten by the mosquito. With time, as the disease begins progressing, the patient may experience seizures, disorientation as well as coma.
Encephalitis causes death in around 1/3 of the cases and those who do survive to remain with permanent brain damage.