Eastern Equine Encephalitis
An Overview of the Disease
Public Health 101
May 10, 2013
In recent years, Eastern Equine Encephalitis has made national headlines in the media. Although it is rare, the disease has devastating effects, especially the encephalitic form of the disease. The purpose of this literature is to provide an overview of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus. History, geographical data, epidemiology, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, mortality rates and prevention will be discussed respectively.
History and Geographical Data
According the Centers for Disease Control, the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis ...view middle of the document...
Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV) is a member of the genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae. The virus is an Arbovirus. An arbovirus is a type of virus that is transmitted through an arthropod vector. In this case, the vector is the mosquito. A vector can be anything that transmits the virus to humans. The virus particles are spherical and have a diameter of 60-65 nanometers. EEEV is endemic in North America and the Caribbean and is the cause of most human disease cases. In the United States, averages of 6 cases of EEEV are reported every year. Primarily, people who engage in outdoor activities, near infected areas are at a higher risk. Typically, most of the cases appear between the months of May and October and around swamp lands and coastal areas. This is why the mosquito is the only vector for the human form of the disease. Cases are usually reported in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Individuals between the age of 15 and 50 seem to be at the highest risk of becoming infected with EEEV (Silverman, p 195)
EEEV has an incubation period ranging from 4 to 10 days. This means that somewhere in between four and ten days from the initial bite, a person will begin feeling ill. The infection can be either systemic or encephalitic, meaning it affects the body or causes swelling in the brain. Systemic infection has a rapid onset of flu-like symptoms and is manifested by chills, fever, tiredness, aches and pains. It usually lasts around one to two weeks. Age is an important factor on how quickly the symptoms appear, “In infants, the encephalitic form is characterized by abrupt onset; in older children and adults, encephalitis is manifested after a few days of systemic illness. Signs and symptoms for patients who have the disease that has spread to the brain are a high fever ranging from 103°-106°F, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma (CDC 2013).” Patients who have the encephalitic and survive can experience very severe symptoms that can last for a few years. The CDC pointed out that:
many are left with disabling and progressive mental and physical sequelae, which can range from minimal brain dysfunction to severe intellectual impairment, personality disorders, seizures, paralysis, and cranial nerve dysfunction. Many patients with severe sequelae die within a few years...