Death toll rising for EEE virus in Michigan

Emily Roelant ‘20, Layout Director

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, better known as the EEE virus, has been at a record high this year. The EEE virus is a mosquito-carrying disease that a person or animal can catch with just one bite. With 28 cases recorded this year, this has been recorded the worst EEE outbreak in over a decade. Health officials say “EEE is the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States.” Generally, there is a greater risk in catching the disease for anyone under the age of 15 and over the age of 50. In Michigan, there have been ten cases with five deaths as of Oct. 15. 

To protect from the EEE virus, you should apply insect repellent with the chemical DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), wear long sleeves and long pants when outside, use netting and fans in outdoor eating areas, and empty any areas that contain standing water. This is because most mosquitoes breed in water.

If you have any of the following symptoms: sudden fever, chills, body or joint aches, headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures or paralysis, you should seek medical attention right away.

Currently, there is no cure for the virus; however, infected patients have been treated with IV fluids, respiratory support, and hospitalization. People can at least survive the bite for a brief period of time. One man from Middleborough, Massachusetts, that was bit by a disease carrying mosquito, named Jeff Fuller, spoke out about his experience. Nine years ago, Fuller was bit by a mosquito carrying the virus and was hospitalized for the illness. He was still suffering from brain damage the virus caused up until August of this year when, unfortunately, Fuller died from prolonged side effects of the bite.

Senior Katie White has been allergic to mosquitoes her whole life and never thought she would have to worry about a mosquito epidemic. White worries about being bit since she already swells up when she normally gets a mosquito bite. She exclaimed that she “can not imagine what would happen if she were to get bit by a mosquito carrying the EEE virus.”

Luckily, the mosquito virus has not yet been found in Oakland County, so there is no need to worry as of now. However, whenever you are outside in the evening, you should wear bug spray, long sleeves, and pants.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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