In recent months, the country has seen a surge of confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (Triple E, EEE). There are usually a few cases of the disease every year reported on the East and Gulf Coast. However, we’re currently seeing the biggest outbreak of the disease since 1956. This disease kills a third of those it infects and can leave survivors with mild to severe brain damage. At Boz Pest Control, we can tell you what you need to know about this outbreak.
EEE is an arbovirus (a disease spread by arthropods, like mosquitoes) that’s most common on the East Coast and Gulf Coast. It spreads through mosquitoes that feed on infected birds and then feed on humans. This sounds like a lot of possible infections, but only about 4-5% of people infected show symptoms. Symptoms usually show up after four to ten days and include fever, stiff neck, headaches, and fatigue. However, the most dangerous symptom is encephalitis, which is the swelling and inflammation of brain tissue. If this happens, patients can become disoriented, have seizures, or slip into a coma. About a third of those that show symptoms die. Those who survive can be left with mild to severe brain damage.
For humans, no. While there’s a vaccine for horses, we don’t have one for us.
This year, ABC News states that we’ve seen 28 confirmed cases of EEE with at least eight deaths. We usually see about seven cases each year, and this year’s number of confirmed cases beats the old record of 21 cases in 2005. In Massachusetts, we see 60% of the EEE cases pop up in the Plymouth and Norfolk counties. As for why we’ve seen so many cases this year, there have been suggestions that it’s due to the long, warm summer caused by climate change.
Protecting yourself from Eastern Equine Encephalitis requires you to protect yourself from mosquitoes. We’ve provided some tips on avoiding mosquitoes in an earlier blog post. You want to wear long-sleeved clothes with socks, stay indoors around dawn and dusk, and rectify any sources of standing water around your house. This includes things like wheelbarrows, recycling containers, and birdbaths. Give us a call, and we can help you mosquito-proof your home!