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5-year-old Massachusetts Girl Battling Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Shows Improvement

The Department of Public Health has initiated Aerial spraying in several communities across the state throughout the week to keep the virus and mosquitoes at bay.

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Updated:September 16, 2019, 1:38 PM IST
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5-year-old Massachusetts Girl Battling Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Shows Improvement
Representative image. (Image: Reuters)

A 5-year-old girl became the youngest in Sudbury town of Massachusetts to be diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV). The girl, Sophia Garabedian, was in a critical condition last week and was undergoing treatment in a hospital. The minor is making progress in her fight against the EEEV. Sophia Garabedian was among seven people to contract the deadly virus in the Bay State this summer.

A report by Patch mentioning GoFundMe page said that Garabedian was moved out of the intensive care unit late last week and is undergoing various types of therapy. When the girl arrived at the hospital, she was suffering from "severe flu symptoms, headaches, and appeared to be having a seizure. She had a very high fever and brain swelling and quickly became unresponsive," according to the page.

The organiser of the page, Debbie Moynihan, last Tuesday said that Garabedian was in fair condition, an improvement from when she was first admitted in critical condition.

"She is still unable to talk or walk and has limited cognitive function," the update reads.

Garabedian started pet therapy on Thursday morning.

The Patch report said that Garabedian was prepping up for her second week of kindergarten when seh contracted EEEV from a mosquito bite.

After Garabedian was tested positive with EEEV, several MetroWest communities canceled outdoor recess for schools as a precaution.

The Department of Public Health has initiated Aerial spraying in several communities across the state throughout the week to keep the virus and mosquitoes at bay.

What is Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV):

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is a member of the genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae. EEEV has a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA genome. The virus particles are spherical and have a diameter of 60-65 nm.

Symptoms of EEEV:

The incubation period for Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) ranges from 4 to 10 days. According to CDC, EEEV infection can result in one of two types of illness, systemic or encephalitic (involving swelling of the brain, referred to below as EEE). There may a situation that people infected with EEEV may be asymptomatic or may not show any symptoms of EEEV.

Systemic infection has an abrupt onset and is characterised by chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and myalgia. The illness lasts a couple of weeks, and recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement.

In infants, the encephalitic can be detected in the initial stage, in older children and adults, encephalitis is diagnosed after a few days of systemic illness. Signs and symptoms in encephalitic patients are fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma.

Treatment of EEEV:

No human vaccine against EEEV infection or specific antiviral treatment for clinical EEEV infections is available at the moment. People with suspected EEE should be examined by a healthcare practitioner, appropriate serologic and other diagnostic tests ordered, and supportive treatment provided.

Prevention:

The most effective way to prevent oneself from falling prey to Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved clothes, and avoid breeding of mosquitoes in the vicinity.

Eastern equine encephalitis, dengue, malaria, Massachusetts

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