Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a virus spread by a bite from an infected mosquito. While EEE is rare, an infected person can become seriously ill and even die from the virus.
The greatest risk factors for EEE are spending time in areas where mosquitoes are present, such as wetlands and swamps. Another risk factors is failing to use insect repellent.
Risk factors for developing serious symptoms from EEE include:
Most people with EEE do not have any symptoms.
If symptoms do occur, they may appear in 4-10 days and include:
EEE can lead to more serious, life-threatening symptoms of inflammation of the brain, like altered mental status, weakness, numbness, paralysis, seizures, and coma.
In addition to taking your medical history and doing a physical exam, your doctor will ask you:
A blood test or a test of your spinal fluid is commonly used to confirm the diagnosis of EEE.
Your doctor may need pictures of structures inside your head. This can be done with:
Treatment for EEE focuses on supportive care. Severe symptoms require hospitalization, which may include:
To help reduce your chances of getting EEE, take the following steps:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Eastern equine encephalitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/ . Updated August 16, 2010. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Eastern equine encephalitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated July 13, 2012. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Encephalitis: an overview. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/nrc-about . Updated March 9, 2012. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012
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