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US Health Dept Sounds Alarm as Mosquitoes Carrying EEE-infecting Virus Found in 12 Connecticut Towns

The CDC has reported that there is no antiviral vaccine for EEE and patients who believe they've been infected should get to a doctor as soon as possible.

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Updated:September 15, 2019, 11:42 AM IST
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US Health Dept Sounds Alarm as Mosquitoes Carrying EEE-infecting Virus Found in 12 Connecticut Towns
Representative image. (Image: Reuters)

The Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus has become a concern for a number of cities in US. Commonly known as EEE, Eastern equine encephalitis or sleeping sickness is a zoonotic alphavirus and arbovirus, which is largely present in North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean. Diagnosing equine encephalitis is challenging because many of the symptoms are shared with other illnesses and patients can be asymptomatic. EEEV is closely related to Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and western equine encephalitis virus.

With the increasing number of EEE cases, the Health officials in Connecticut are warning residents across the state. The health officials are giving information about the mosquito-borne virus that can cause potentially fatal brain infections and has no treatment. In its report, CBS New York wrote that the Connecticut Department of Public Health has notified that mosquitoes in 12 towns have already tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

“Most people infected with EEE virus do not become ill. When symptoms do occur they can range from mild fever and headache to coma. Other symptoms include high fever, fatigue, muscle aches, neck stiffness, tremors, or confusion,” Connecticut health officials said, adding, “Severe cases include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) which can lead to coma, convulsions, and death.”

It is to be noted that EEE is a rare and serious illness, which is transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite. The vector-borne disease has already claimed at least three lives in the U.S. this year – including one case in New Jersey. In a recent development, a man in his 50s from Bristol County was diagnosed with the rare mosquito-borne virus, according to the Department of Public Health.

The CDC has reported that there is no antiviral vaccine for EEE and patients who believe they've been infected should get to a doctor as soon as possible. “The illness lasts one to two weeks, and recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement,” the CDC explains.

According to CDC, one third of the patients who contract the rare illness die from it. While there have been no human cases of EEE, officials have urged residents to wear long-sleeved clothes when outside after dark and use insect repellent to keep disease causing mosquitoes at bay

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