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Eastern equine encephalitis virus identified in eastern NC – Washington Daily News – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-09-20 18:39:09 –

The Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus was recently identified in eastern North Carolina. Horses in the three counties Brunswick, Pender and Onslow were recently diagnosed with EEE. In addition, the EEE virus was detected in a sample of mosquitoes in New Hanover County. So far, no human cases of EEE have been identified in North Carolina this year.

Eastern equine encephalitis virus is transmitted by being bitten by an infected mosquito. It can cause serious illness not only in horses, donkeys, emu and ostriches, but also in people. Unusual for people, EEE is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in both horses and humans in the United States. About one-third of people who get sick with EEE die. Many people who survive the EEE suffer from long-term brain injury. People under the age of 15 and over the age of 50 are at greatest risk of developing serious illness. From 2003 to 2020, 12 cases of EEE were reported in North Carolina, with infections occurring from July to December.

In North Carolina, the EEE virus is most commonly detected in the eastern part of the state, and the virus usually passes between wild birds and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes, the main vector of EEE, spend most of their time in freshwater wetlands, most often biting birds rather than horses or humans.

You can protect yourself from EEE by avoiding mosquito bites. It is important to use effective mosquito repellents consistently during the months they are active. The second method is mosquito control efforts, especially in areas near freshwater wetlands. There is no vaccine that protects humans from EEE, and when humans become infected, they do not heal. Treatment is limited to the management of symptoms of the disease.

Autumn is also the time when most cases of other mosquito-borne viral diseases, such as West Nile and Lacrosse virus infections, are reported. To prevent mosquito-borne diseases, the NCDHHS public health department encourages people to practice the “three Ds”.

Dress-Wear loose, light-colored clothing that covers your skin.
Defense-If you have the potential to be exposed to mosquitoes, we recommend repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meth-toluamide). Picaridin and lemon eucalyptus oils are other repellent options. Find out more about insect repellent options.
Drainage – Check around your home to get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

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