By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Connecticut health officials reported today the first human Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) case in the state this year and the second human case ever.
According to Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell, the patient is an adult resident of the town of East Lyme.
The patient became ill during the last week of August with encephalitis and remains hospitalized. Laboratory tests, which were completed today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Laboratory in Ft. Collins, Colorado, confirmed the presence of antibodies to the virus that causes EEE.
“EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages,” cautioned DPH Commissioner Renée Coleman Mitchell. “Using insect repellent, covering bare skin and avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes.”
The EEE virus has been identified in mosquitoes in 12 towns and in horses in two other towns. Towns where mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE include Chester, Haddam, Hampton, Groton, Killingworth, Ledyard, Madison, North Stonington, Plainfield, Shelton, Stonington, and Voluntown. Horses have tested positive for EEE virus in Colchester and Columbia this season, and the virus has been detected in a flock of wild pheasants.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is spread to horses and humans by infected mosquitoes, including several Culex species and Culiseta melanura.
Symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.
EEE is a more serious disease than West Nile Virus (WNV) and carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore throat. There is no specific treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma.