Prevention

There are no drugs that prevent California encephalitis.

encephalitis, eastern equine (EEE) The least common of all the arboviral infections, but the most deadly, since one-third of patients will die. This type of encephalitis primarily affects horses, donkeys, and mules along the eastern seaboard; it only affects about five to 10 humans each year in the United States. The viral disease is characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, often causing serious or fatal nerve damage.

Outbreaks of the disease in horses have occurred along the east coast since 1831. The first human to die of the disease was a Massachusetts baby in 1938. EEE is related to a similar virus that infects horses and humans in the western states called western equine encephalitis.

Most recently a 1996 outbreak in Rhode Island sent oceanside residents into panic, as experts discovered that one out of every 100 mosquitoes in the area were carrying the disease. High school football and outdoor games were moved out of town, and children were urged to stay away from woods and swamps. A state of emergency was declared as tests showed a tenfold increase in infected mosquitoes, and the state sprayed an entire town with an insecticide called resmithrin. Only four people in Rhode Island have ever been recorded as having the virus, however; one of them, a teenager, died in 1993.

In 1991 five older people in northern Florida contracted EEE; two died and three partially recovered. Other cases cropped up in Georgia, Michigan, Louisiana, and South Carolina; at the same time, an epidemic in horses swept along the southeastern states, killing many animals. Two years later, only 88 cases of EEE were reported in horses and only five humans contracted the disease.

Three types of encephalomyelitis occur in horses in the United States: eastern equine encephalomyelitis, western equine encephalo-myelitis, and Venezuelan equine encephalo-myelitis. Eastern equine encephalomyelitis is a severe form of equine encephalitis; it lasts longer and causes more deaths and problems than either the western or Venezuelan versions. Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis occurs in Central and South America, as well as Florida and Texas.

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