Eastern Equine Encephalitis

(EEE)

Definition

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is an infection spread by a bite from an infected mosquito. While EEE is rare, it can be serious and in some cases, fatal.
Effect on Encephalitis on the Brain
Swollen brain
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

EEE is caused by a virus.

Risk Factors

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:
  • Being over 50 years old or younger than 15 years old
  • Having a condition that affects your immune system

Symptoms

Most people with EEE do not have any symptoms.If symptoms do occur, they may appear in 4-10 days and include:
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Vomiting
EEE can lead to more serious, life-threatening symptoms of inflammation of the brain, like altered mental status, weakness, numbness, paralysis, seizures, and coma .

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Questions may include:
  • Where you have been living or traveling
  • Whether you have been exposed to mosquitoes
A blood test or a test of your spinal fluid is commonly used to confirm the diagnosis of EEE.Imaging tests may include:

Treatment

Treatment for EEE focuses on supportive care. Severe symptoms require hospitalization, which may include:
  • Mechanical ventilation (breathing support)
  • IV fluids
  • Medication to control seizures
  • Medication to decrease brain swelling

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