Officials said that one fatality and two instances of a rare mosquito-borne virus have been documented in Alabama. Spanish Fort, Alabama, which is nine miles east of Mobile, reported cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) on Facebook.
The names, ages, and sexes of the patients were not disclosed by the Alabama Department of Public Health. The cases are the first to be recorded in the state this year, according to Dr. Wes Stubblefield, a district medical officer with the ADPH, who spoke to ABC News. Only eight cases were reported in Alabama between 2003 and 2022, he claimed.
Symptoms of Eastern Equine Encephalitis
It can proceed from a high temperature, headache, chills, and nausea to seizures, confusion, and coma. The survivors could experience neurological problems. According to some, those under 15 and over 50 are more in danger.
Not everyone who contracts the virus experiences symptoms, and many eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus infections result in silent infection. For individuals who experience symptoms, the incubation period lasts between 4 and 10 days.
The instances in Alabama were recorded in Baldwin County “in the past few weeks,” the state’s Department of Public Health stated in a news release on Monday.
The virus has been identified in New York in horses in the counties of St. Lawrence and Franklin as well as in mosquitoes in the county of Onondaga, according to an announcement from the State Department of Health on Tuesday.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only a small number of human cases of Eastern equine encephalitis are documented in the US each year, mostly in Eastern or Gulf Coast states. It can, however, result in very serious illness. According to the CDC, “about 30% of people with EEE die, and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.”
“People of all ages are susceptible to infection, but people over 50 and younger than 15 are at greatest risk of acquiring the virus,” the New York Health Department says. “While most people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop any symptoms, severe cases begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, encephalitis, and coma.”
Avoiding mosquito bites is the most effective strategy to prevent infection. The CDC advises using insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, among other substances. Wear long sleeves and long pants when outside. To kill or deter mosquitoes, clothing may also be coated with 0.5% permethrin. Look for any standing water in your yard where mosquitoes might lay their eggs.