Published: Sat, August 31, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Mosquito-borne virus that causes brain infections found in Warren County

Mosquito-borne virus that causes brain infections found in Warren County

One case of Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, has been confirmed in a horse in Ashtabula County.

Many states, although not ME, also have seen positive results in humans and mosquitoes for West Nile virus, which causes symptoms similar to EEE. But Dr. Brown says that doesn't mean people can't enjoy the last official weekend of summer; they just need to take some basic precautions.

Health officials say to use insect repellants that contain DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus to keep mosquitoes away, and try to avoid swampy areas and anywhere with standing water.

EEE virus has been found in 333 mosquito samples this year, many of them from species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people.

State public health officials announced four confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease in horses from Holliston, Medfield, Brookfield, and Granby yesterday.

The state of MA is starting a new, intense cycle of EEE activity that will likely persist for two to three years, state officials told the Globe earlier this week.

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While there have been no reported cases of either disease in Maine so far this year, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is advising residents and visitors to wear insect repellant, long sleeves and trousers, and to empty any pools of standing water where mosquitos might breed.

The Commonwealth is now experiencing its first outbreak of EEE since 2012.

There have been four human cases of EEE in MA this year. It is abrupt and usually fatal in horses. Other signs are head pressing, circling, tremors, seizures and coma.

The Maine CDC advises residents and visitors to protect themselves, their children, and animals by minimizing outdoor activity from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. In animals, the fatality rate is 90 percent, and the survivors can have permanent brain damage.

Use an EPA-approved repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers and treat clothing and gear with Permethrin. Individuals with symptoms suggesting an EEE infection should contact their physician immediately, although there is no vaccine for humans and no specific antiviral treatment for either EEE or West Nile virus. About one in every three individuals who are infected with EEE dies and many of those who recover experience lasting health problems.

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