EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections (encephalitis) that is spread to people by infected mosquitoes. Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Most occur in eastern or Gulf Coast states. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced that many communities in Southeastern Massachusetts have moderate, high, and even critical risk of EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS (EEE) virus as of August 30.
Those communities are within both the Plymouth and Bristol counties, which are homes to the Compass Medical family. Please be aware of these risks and understand the preventions.
HOW DO PEOPLE BECOME INFECTED?
EEE is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Disease transmission does not occur directly from person to person.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The EEE infection can result in one of two types of illness, systemic or encephalitic. It will take about 4 to 10 days since the time from the infected mosquito bite for symptoms to show.
Systemic infection can last 1 to 2 weeks and has an abrupt onset of:
Systemic infection’s recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement.
Encephalitic infections can be characterized in infants by abrupt onset; in older children and adults, this type of infection won’t show symptoms after a few days of systemic illness. Signs and symptoms are:
HOW TO PREVENT EEE
The most effective way to prevent infection from Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, treat clothing and gear, and take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items.
- Do not use permethrin products directly on the skin.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. Always follow the product label instructions.
- When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
- Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
- Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air-conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
No human vaccine against EEE infection or specific antiviral treatment for clinical EEE infections is available. Patients with suspected EEE should be evaluated by a healthcare provider, appropriate serologic and other diagnostic tests ordered, and supportive treatment provided.