‘Especially deadly’ mosquito-spread virus kills 3 Americans so far this year

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Mosquitoes can transmit Eastern equine enchephalitis and West Nile virus to humans. Image: Pat Wellenbach/AP

Rhode Island health officials reported that a resident had died after contracting the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. The death marks the third U.S. fatality linked to EEE reported this year.

EEE is certainly one of the scarier diseases spread by mosquitoes. Most people who are infected with the virus never develop any serious symptoms. But in a small percentage of people, it manages to reach the nervous system, where it causes the brain swelling that gives the virus its name. This form of the disease is especially deadly, with a 33 percent fatality rate. There are currently no specialized treatments for EEE, nor a preventive human vaccine.

Related article:  Do GMO mosquitoes designed to eradicate Zika pose unique environmental risks?

Thankfully, EEE usually makes its home in mosquitoes that live away from people, and humans aren’t part of the virus’s natural life cycle.

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For now, officials have warned that the peak transmission season for EEE will continue into September for people living near swampy areas along the Eastern and Southern U.S. And of course, as the warming climate makes life more hospitable to mosquitoes, it’s almost certain that EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile will become more common throughout the year.

Read full, original post: Three Americans Have Died After Contracting Rare Brain-Infecting Virus Spread by Mosquitoes

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