EEE fears sweep us up: officials in 3 states warn residents to stay indoors at sunrise and sunset and not to touch dying birds
- At least five people have contracted Eastern equine encephalitis in three states
- The virus kills around a third of people who develop it and several have been left in coma & # 39; s or on life support
- One case is confirmed in each Michigan and New Jersey
- Four confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been verified in Massachusetts, where a woman reportedly died of the disease
- Residents in a city are warned not to touch dead birds that may be infected – or to bring them to local health departments
Officials in New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts advise people to cancel picnic dinners at the end of the summer and stay inside at dusk and dawn to be safe for EEE-bearing mosquitoes.
EEE – Eastern equine encephalitis – is a virus that is carried by insects and causes severe brain swelling and is fatal in 30 percent of cases.
It is historically rare and affects around 10 horses and people per year respectively.
Until this year it is. Cases are emerging in the US because rising temperatures stimulate the population of mosquito populations.
Bites are the primary way the insects transmit the disease to humans, but officials in a city in Massachusetts are begging residents not to touch dead birds that may be infected.
Cases of Eaastern equine encephalitis, or EEE transmitted by mosquitoes, are on the rise in the US. Health officials in Michigan, Massachusetts and New Jersey warn residents to stay indoors during peak hours, to drain stagnant water and to leave dead birds untouched
New Jersey has seen one confirmed case of EEA this month, Michigan has also confirmed one and four have been reported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Reports emerged yesterday that a 14-year-old girl in Michigan was living with a suspected EEE infection.
Health departments in states with EEE cases have begun testing mosquitoes for viral disease.
So far, 22 mosquitoes have tested positive in New Jersey, as well as 334 in Massachusetts.
Health officials in both states and Michigan have issued public warnings about the disease.
& # 39; Mosquito-borne diseases can cause long-term health effects in people and even death & # 39 ;, says Dr. Mary Grace Stobierski, MDHHS, state veterinarian and manager of the zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases section.
& # 39; These cases, along with confirmed cases in horses and deer in the state, emphasize the importance of taking precautions against mosquito bites. & # 39;
In Massachusetts, a woman died after being contracted at EEE, Tufts University Hospital, where she was being treated Boston.com.
The infection starts with flu-like symptoms and can develop into seizures, disorientation, and leave patients in coma & # 39; s.
Officials of a city there, Fairhaven, are called by citizens who are worried about dead birds they have found.
Bitten birds can carry the disease, but the health department is not equipped to test them for EEE.
& # 39; Although we understand the concerns that residents may have with a possible correlation with EEA, our department has no knowledge of whether these birds have contracted EEA, nor do we have the necessary equipment to perform tests & # 39 ;, said officials in a statement.
& # 39; We urge residents to please leave these birds where they are and not to contact them.
& # 39; Please do not bring birds or animals to the health service, the police, or the animal control office. & # 39;
Instead, officials in all three states are advising residents to wear DEET insect repellent when they need to be outside.
They also suggested draining groundwater that serves as a fertile breeding ground for insects.
And, if possible, experts recommend that they are outside around sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes that can carry the disease are most active.
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