By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
While some parts of the country have been alerted to an increase in human Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases and deaths, the state that has seen the most human cases in the past decade has not reported a human case to date.
From 2009-2018, Florida reported the most human EEE cases-13 out of the 72 cases reported nationally although it hasn’t accounted for one of the more than 30 or so cases reported in 2019.
It’s not as if EEE hasn’t been circulating this year, there has been quite a bit in the state with positive samples reported from 26 horses, one emu, one eagle, and 106 sentinel chickens through the end of September.
The virus circulates year-round due to the warm climate; however, the northern states will see the end of the risk at the first hard frost.
While human EEE has not been reported in Florida, other mosquito-borne disease in people has occurred.
Health officials have also reported a record number of travel-associated dengue cases with 235–more than 60 percent imported from Cuba (146).
There has also been a few dozen imported Zika cases and five imported chikungunya.
As far as the most common mosquito-borne infection in the US, Florida has only reported one human West Nile virus (WNV) case to date in Duval County. Four horses, one eagle, and 323 sentinel chickens have also tested positive.
Most persons infected with EEE have no apparent illness, however some can be very ill. Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite. The illness may then progress to disorientation, seizures, or coma.
EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the U.S. About one-third of people with EEE die from the disease and there is significant brain damage in most survivors. While there is a vaccine for horses, there is no vaccine for people.