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Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus

Context:

A rare mosquito-borne virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, was recently reported in the US states of Alabama and New York.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus
  2. Symptoms
  3. Treatment

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus:

  • EEE is a rare and severe infection that causes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).
  • Named after its initial discovery in horses (equines) during the 1830s.
  • Transmitted by mosquitoes carrying the EEE virus (EEEV).
  • Can impact brain and nerve functions, often leading to serious and fatal outcomes.
Transmission:
  • Spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes.
  • Mosquitoes become carriers after feeding on animals infected with EEEV.
  • Affects a wide range of animals including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
Fatality Rate:
  • Approximately 30% of individuals bitten by EEE-infected mosquitoes develop encephalitis and die from the infection.
Contagiousness:
  • Not contagious between humans or between animals and humans.
  • Virus transmission occurs exclusively through mosquito bites.

Symptoms:

  • Severity varies; many remain asymptomatic.
  • Symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and neurological issues.
  • Neurological symptoms like encephalitis can lead to seizures, coma, and sometimes death.
  • Infants and the elderly are more vulnerable to severe cases.

Treatment:

  • No human vaccine available for EEE.
  • No specific antiviral drugs for EEE treatment.
  • Supportive care focuses on managing symptoms.
  • Severe cases may require hospitalization and intensive care.
  • Preventive measures, including mosquito avoidance, are crucial due to lack of specific medical interventions.

-Source: Hindustan Times


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