Up to a dozen people are suspected of contracting the mosquito borne viral disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), in Darien province in eastern Panama, the Panama Health Ministry reports.
One person has died die to EEE.
In addition to adult illnesses, health officials report 2 children, ages 6 and 10 months, have contracted the disease and both are reported as stable.
Director General of Health, Itza Barahona said that although mortality is low in humans, one must take preventive measures such as eliminating mosquito breeding sites, using repellents, wearing clothing that covers most of the body, and keeping areas clean. She stated that they will be carrying out fumigation days in order to avoid more cases.
Symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten. EEE is a more serious disease than West Nile virus 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.
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today
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