What to know about deadly mosquito-borne illness Eastern equine encephalitis

A rare, potentially deadly mosquito-transmitted illness called Eastern equine encephalitis has been reported in at least three states.

There have been four recorded cases in Massachusetts, including one case in which the person died, while there have been three suspected cases in Michigan.

Cases involving animals have been reported in Florida.

In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Todd Ellerin, director of Infectious Diseases and vice chair Department of Medicine at South Shore Health in Massachusetts, explained that EEE “is the most deadly of all the mosquito-born viral brain infections, aka encephalitides.” However, EEE remains very rare and most people who get it never develop symptoms.

Here’s what else you need to know about Eastern equine encephalitis:

What is the EEE?

What are the symptoms?

Are there more cases now than before?

Can it be treated?

There is no human vaccine for the EEE virus, but there is a vaccine for horses. Testing for the virus typically requires obtaining blood and fluid from around the brain. There is no known curative anti-viral medication for this virus.

What’s being done about it?

How can you protect yourself from infection with the EEE virus?

Notably, insect repellents should not be used on infants under 2 months. OLE and PMD cannot be applied to children under 3 years.

Dr. Sejal Parekh is a pediatrician from San Diego, working with the ABC News Medical Unit.

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