Eastern equine encephalitis

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Eastern equine encephalitis is a viral illness that is transmitted to people and horses through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus is an alphavirus and is closely related to western equine encephalitis and Venezuelan equine encephalitis viruses

Most people infected with this virus will not develop any symptoms. Symptoms of illness may include a sudden onset of fever, chills, and muscle or joint aches. Cases with severe illness may begin with fever, headache, and vomiting that may progress into disorientation, seizures, and coma.
Eastern equine encephalitis is the most severe mosquitoborne disease ,Approximately one in three persons who develop severe illness die. Most of those who survive will have permanent neurologic damage.
There is no treatment for eastern equine encephalitis. Hospitalization and supportive care may be needed.
 Eastern equine encephalitis virus is maintained in a cycle involving Culiseta melanura mosquitoes and birds. This mosquito is commonly found in tamarack bogs or hardwood swamps and feeds almost exclusively on birds. People become infected with this virus by other mosquito species that create a “bridge” between infected birds and mammals. Common human-biting mosquito species such  as Aedesvexans and Coquillettidia perturbans 


  • Blood tests. Someone who is infected with EEE will have an increased level of antibodies in their blood. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that attack foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria. Increased levels of antibodies are a sign that your immune system is fighting the virus.  
  • CT scan produces detailed, cross-sectional images of the brain. The results from a CT scan can rule out other possible diseases that may be causing inflammation.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another procedure that takes detailed X-ray images of the brain to help detect brain inflammation.
  • lumbar puncture (spinal tap) may be used to take a small sample of cerebral spinal fluid to determine if a child has EEE or other problems.
  • An electroencephalogram (EEG) can be used to detect small seizures in the brain that may not be obvious from watching the person. An EEG works by recording the brain's continuous electrical activity using stickers attached to the scalp that measure electrical activity.
  • needle biopsy may be used to take a sample of brain tissue to determine the underlying cause of the inflammation.


Although there is no specific treatment for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), there are several things that can be done to help manage the symptoms of the disease:
  • Anticonvulsants for seizures
  • Respirator for breathing problems
  • Pain relievers for headache, fever or body ache
  • Sedatives for irritability or restlessness
  • Corticosteroids for brain swelling
                          Preventive measures
The best way to prevent eastern equine encephalitis is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, the peak feeding time for many mosquitoes, particularly from July through September.
  • Use repellents containing DEET according to label directions – up to 30% DEET is safe and effective for adults and children over two months of age.  Other effective repellents include picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Only use products that are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Pre-treat clothing and gear with permethrin-based products.
  • Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your home by maintaining screens on windows and doors.

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