What is it?
Within the past year or so, Easter Equine Encephalitis (also called triple E) has been on the rise. Triple E is a viral illness that is transmitted into people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. One cannot get triple E from another person or animal that has triple E. There are usually only a few human cases annually reported in the U.S., which is typically 4-10 cases.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can occur 4-10 days after an individual has been bit by an infected mosquito. Symptoms can include high fever, chills, headache, tiredness, nausea/vomiting, neck stiffness, seizures, confusion (disorientation), or a coma. Symptoms can differ depending on the part of the brain that is inflamed, amount of inflammation, and a person’s age and health. This is a serious virus that can lead to permanent brain damage, being in a coma, or even death. Triple E can be diagnosed by a blood test or testing spinal fluids.
Is there treatment?
There is not a human vaccine or specific antivirus currently available. Patients with triple E should be properly evaluated by a physician or healthcare provider. Severe cases are typically hospitalized and get respiratory support, fluids through an IV, and prevention of other possible infections that may arise.
What can I do to prevent triple E?
For the individual:
- wear long sleeve shirts and pants outdoors
- wear EPA registered/CDC recommended insect repellents
- cover strollers and baby carriers with a mosquito net
- avoid outdoor activities from dusk until dawn
For the home/outdoors:
- remove areas with standing water (pool covers, bird baths, trash cans, tires, etc.)
- repair screens if there are holes, keep windows and doors shut to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home
- remove leaf debris from yard and garden areas
- ensure roof gutters drain correctly and clean clogged gutters in fall and spring
Words from Our Expert, Dr. Karen McKenzie
“The 2019 mosquito season has been pretty bad all over the country due to weather patterns in later 2018 and earlier this year that dumped a lot of rain and snow around the country. In July, NOAA even stated that the U.S. had set a new record for the ‘wettest 12 month period’, which created prime mosquito habitats. The overabundance of mosquitoes mixed with a large number of birds hat were susceptible to both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis has created a ‘perfect storm’ situation. All the right pieces have fallen into place to allow these diseases to really bloom. This year has marked a record year for triple E, with 31 cases so far and more deaths than the average number of cases reported each year. Remember mosquito season isn’t over because it’s fall. Mosquito season is only over once we are seeing freezing temperatures. Adding a flying insect trap to your mosquito control strategy can help you protect you and your family by collecting mosquitoes that are in your yard.
To help protect your yard and your home from infected mosquitoes, check out the DynaTrap website for indoor and outdoor traps!