Eastern Equine Encephalitis
by Rebecca J. Stahl, MA
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.
EEE is caused by a virus.
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.
Other factors that may increase your chances of EEE:
Most people with EEE do not have any symptoms.
If symptoms do occur, they may appear in 4-10 days and include:
EEE can lead to more serious, life-threatening symptoms of inflammation of the brain, like altered mental status, weakness, numbness, paralysis, seizures, and coma.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Questions may include:
A blood test or a test of your spinal fluid is commonly used to confirm the diagnosis of EEE.
Imaging tests may include:
Treatment for EEE focuses on supportive care. Severe symptoms require hospitalization, which may include:
To help reduce your chances of EEE:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Eastern equine encephalitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis. Updated April 5, 2016. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Eastern equine encephalitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated February 4, 2016. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Encephalitis: an overview. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscoho... . Updated March 9, 2012. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Mosquito avoidance. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115142/Mosquito-avoidance . Updated November 21, 2016. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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