PRO/AH/EDR> Eastern equine encephalitis – North America (13): USA (GA)


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 6 Oct 2023 19:18 EDT
Source: WSBTV News [edited]

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is an uncommon but grave
mosquito-borne illness which can cause severe brain infections. While
rare, health officials say the illness is serious and can have
long-term effects on the brain.

In Georgia’s Southwest Health District, a single, isolated human case
of EEE was detected, according to recent reports by the Department of
Public Health (DPH). As a result, the DPH said they’re taking
proactive steps to raise awareness and teach the public how to prevent
EEE infections.

There is no vaccine to prevent or treat encephalitis, according to the
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“While this is an isolated case, it underscores the importance of
vigilance and preventative measures to reduce the risk of
mosquito-borne illnesses,” the health department said in a statement.

The symptoms of encephalitis can present as fever, chills, body aches,
and joint pain and last between 1 and 2 weeks. These symptoms are
known as “febrile illness,” according to the CDC. However, in other
cases, neurologic disease can also take hold.

The CDC said symptoms of this disease can include fever, headache,
vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, behavioral changes, drowsiness, and

When children or adults are infected, symptoms may appear after
several days of systemic illness, but in infants, neurologic disease
can occur soon after onset, the health agency said.

The CDC reports about one-third of all people infected with
encephalitis due to EEE die, typically between 2 and 10 days after
symptoms appear.

Patients who recover from encephalitis are left with sometimes
permanent medical conditions, such as physical or mental impairments,
mild brain dysfunction, severe intellectual impairment, personality
disorders, seizures, paralysis, and cranial nerve dysfunction.

People who contract these severe medical diagnoses often need
long-term care after starting recovery and die within a few years of
diagnosis, according to the CDC.

In terms of treatment, while there is no vaccine or medication that
prevents or combats EEE infections, the CDC said rest, fluids, and
pain medication may relieve some symptoms.

For those who contract severe disease from encephalitis,
hospitalization is needed for treatment and supportive care.

While there are no medical treatments, the Georgia Southwest Health
District did provide some tips on preventing mosquito bites, and EEE
by extension.

To prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne
diseases, the Southwest Health District recommends the following
– Use insect repellent containing EPA-registered ingredients such as
DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
– Wear long sleeves and pants, especially during dawn and dusk when
mosquitoes are most active.
– Tip n’ Toss standing water around homes and businesses at least once
a week to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites.
– Consider the use of larvicides, a commonly used pest control
chemical used to prevent the growth and proliferation of mosquitos
when applied to bodies of water, such as stagnant pools, ponds, or
containers, where insects lay their eggs and larvae develop. The
primary purpose of larvicides is to kill or inhibit the development of
larvae before they reach adulthood and become capable of reproducing.
– Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes
out of living spaces.
– Protect Your Pets: EEE can also affect horses. Ensure your horses
are vaccinated against EEE and maintain their vaccination schedule.
– Seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms such as fever,
headache, body aches, or rash after mosquito exposure.

The CDC recommends contacting state or local health departments for
assistance with diagnostic testing if you believe you may have

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