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1st Eastern Equine Encephalitis Human Death Reported in Indiana

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the death, accepting that it is the first death since 1988.

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Updated:October 20, 2019, 3:33 PM IST
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1st Eastern Equine Encephalitis Human Death Reported in Indiana
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Indiana has reported the first human death due to mosquito-borne disease Eastern equine encephalitis in more than 20 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the death, accepting that it is the first death since 1988. It was also confirmed that the patient belonged to the Elkhart County, reported The Journal Gazette.

Dr Kris Box, state health commissioner, said in a statement, “It's hard to imagine losing a loved one because of a mosquito bite, but unfortunately, mosquitoes carry diseases that can be life-threatening.”

According to CDC, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare disease spread by infected mosquitoes which are known to cause brain inflammation. While survivors typically have mild to severe brain damage, one-third of those infected with EEE die. The other symptoms of EEE, contracted from a mosquito bite, including symptoms of chills, fever, body aches and joint pain.

The federal health agency said in a statement to Fox News, “Severe illnesses are treated by supportive therapy, which may include hospitalisation, respiratory support, IV fluids, and prevention of other infections.” It is to be noted that on average, five to 10 cases of EEE are reported each year in the US.

Given the recent case of EEE in Indiana, people are being introduced to the challenges of the mosquito-borne disease. The vector-borne disease is caused through the bite of an infected mosquito, which contracts the virus by feeding off an infected bird. A person cannot catch this disease from another infected person.

As for now, there is no specific treatment that exists to battle the EEE virus, making it more fatal. However, several reports say that a patient can receive supportive therapy, which can include IV fluids, respiratory support, and other measures.

The virus is more likely to affect people over the age of 50 and under the age of 15. However, according to CDC, only about 4 percent to 5 percent of people who are infected with the virus go on to develop the symptoms of the disease.

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