Health Officials Confirm 10 Deaths from Eastern equine encephalitis Virus this Year

Three out of ten people reported having mosquito-borne Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus died in Massachusetts.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, normally five to seven people get this infection annually. However, this year, Massachusetts has broken the record for confirming all 10 cases within a year. It was in 2002 when Michigan reported having six cases, the largest record of that time.

As per the recent news, the third person in Hampden country has now been reported dead. It was only last week when the family of James Longworth recognized his death as the second in the state from Eastern equine encephalitis. It is a rare type of infection transmitted through mosquitoes.

Eastern equine encephalitis, in most cases, proves to be fatal (33%). It can cause brain swelling. Doctors have not come up with any treatment for it. Brain swelling may occur in one of three infected individuals.

First confirmed death of Eastern equine encephalitis

It was Monday when health authorities announced the first death of the year due to Eastern equine encephalitis.

Renee D. Coleman Mitchell, a commissioner of the Department of Public Health, reported of an individual in East Lyme who had a positive test of EEE at the end of August.

The health department in New Jersey last month reported about an individual having a positive diagnostic test. However, later on, Thursday they confirmed two more cases of the disease. The two cases were from Atlantic and Union countries. One case was also seen in the Catawba country.

90% of the horses die if they get infected with the virus. According to the CDC, people are more susceptible to getting the disease that lives near the swamps. The disease is not contagious and could only be spread through a virus.

Read also – Reproduction of Viruses – Is it Possible to Prevent Viral Infection?

Symptoms usually start 10 days after the mosquito bite. Common early symptoms of the disease include chills, fever, headache, and aches. The symptoms may get worse and could cause brain swelling. Brain swelling may also lead to tremors, seizures, extreme headaches, and paralysis.

Health officials have noticed that when compared with the West Nile virus Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare and less common virus. This year authorities have reported 20 cases of West Nile virus.

Warning by health authorities on residents

Health authorities are still searching for more cases. They have warned residents against spreading of the virus. They have advised them to cover themselves properly to prevent mosquito bites.

Health authorities specifically in New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut, Michigan, and Rhode Island have issued warnings among the residents.

People should start using mosquito repellants, remove stagnant water, and close doors and windows.

The first six deaths occurred in the following states: Rhode Island, Michigan, and Massachusetts. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, deaths began in mid-August.

Health officials confirmed that no vaccine was available in Michigan, due to which three people died. Joneigh Khaldun MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, stated on Tuesday, “Michigan is currently experiencing its worst Eastern Equine Encephalitis outbreak in more than a decade. The ongoing cases reported in humans and animals and the severity of this disease illustrate the importance of taking precautions against mosquito bites.”

The virus is in its active mode mainly because of the high temperature. The third victim is not yet recognized by his family. The first two were James Longworth age 78 and Patricia age 77 from Massachusetts and Connecticut, respectively.

Although anyone can get the disease, older people are more susceptible to it. Young children and people with a weak immune system should take care and try to prevent going into areas where they could get infected.


Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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