It is not dengue. This year, 11 were killed by the mosquito-borne illness EEE. Understanding what this dangerous neurologic disease is all about maybe the best way to protect you and your family.

The U.S., being a four-seasoned country, rarely sees cases of deaths brought about by mosquito-borne illnesses. In a year, there would only be seven cases of EEE, otherwise known as the Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a rare but dangerous neurologic disease, inflicted by mosquitoes.

This year, alarm bells were rung in the medical field when the average 7 cases increased to 30 cases nationwide. The death count has started, and while still far from the end of 2019, a total of 11 deaths from EEE have already been recorded.

This has ushered information dissemination from the health sector with regards to the disease to bring more awareness to people, and subsequently, more precautions will be taken.

Mosquito-borne illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Mosquito-borne illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis has killed 11 in the U.S. in 2019 alone. Jimmy Chan - Pexels

The EEE virus is carried by an infected mosquito. It is transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite. Once the person contracts the virus, he does not become a carrier and will not infect other humans who will come in contact with him.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first few symptoms are fever, headaches, chills, and vomiting. When left unchecked, the disease can lead to brain inflammation, seizure, disorientation, and even coma.

Due to the severity of the disease, the CDC has reported that about one-third out of the total number of individuals affected by EEE die. A certain period was pinpointed as the time when most EEE cases were found. This is from late spring up to early fall.

The moment it enters the winter season, the fear and the associated risk of contracting the disease would also start to decline. This does not mean though that one should no longer take precautions, especially in the Gulf States. According to the CDC, there are still rare cases when carriers of the virus could still infect people even during winter.

Since there is no known definitive cure for EEE, as per CDC’s report, the best recourse is always prevention. During this season, applying a mosquito repellent will be the best. Eradicating breeding places of mosquitoes will also help in reducing the risk for EEE.