Western Equine Encephalitis
DefinitionWestern equine encephalitis (WEE) is a virus spread by a bite from an infected mosquito. While WEE is rare, an infected person can become seriously ill and even die from the virus.
CausesWEE is caused by being bitten by a mosquito that is infected with the virus.
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your chance of WEE include:
- Living in or visiting the plains regions of western and central United States
- Doing activities outdoors and not using insect repellent
SymptomsMost people with WEE do not have any symptoms.If symptoms do occur, they appear within 5-10 days after infection and include:
- Neck stiffness
- Joint and muscle pain
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DiagnosisIn addition to taking your medical history and doing a physical exam, your doctor will ask you:
- What kind of symptoms you are experiencing
- Where you have been living or traveling
- Whether you have been exposed to mosquitoes
- Blood tests
- Cerebrospinal fluid tests to evaluate the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
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