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Mosquito virus EEE: How it’s spread and prevention steps to take

Posted: 6:09 PM, Aug 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-31 12:47:27-04

(WXYZ) — Labor Day weekend is often a time when friends and family gather for BBQs and fun outdoor activities. But as the triple E virus continues to be a threat in Michigan, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and loved ones from this potentially deadly virus.

Only certain mosquito species are capable of transmitting this virus from infected birds to humans and horses. They’re more often found in swamp and bog areas, but anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors or lives in wooded areas should take extra precautions.

Now if you do get bitten by one of these mosquitoes, only about 4-5% of human infections result in triple E illness. It’s a rare but very dangerous virus that can cause severe encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain.

It has a 33% fatality rate. And for those who survive, they can be left with permanent brain damage, seizures, paralysis, personality disorders, and cranial nerve dysfunction.

If you’re bitten by an infected mosquito, it can take between 4 and 10 days for symptoms to start. You may have chills, fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pain.

Now less than 1% of infected people will develop symptoms of neurologic illness which can include headache, drowsiness, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and coma. Those most at risk for serious infection are children and adults over 60, and anyone with a weakened immune system.

The unfortunate side of this virus is that there is no antiviral treatment and no human vaccine either. But it’s still important to get medical help as patients can be given supportive therapy like respiratory support and IV fluids.

To prevent mosquitos you want EPA-approved insect repellents that contain any of these key ingredients:

  • DEET
  • PicaridinI
  • R3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Para-menthane-diol and
  • 2-undecanone

Be sure to apply as directed, especially for children. But please don’t use on any child 2 months or younger.

EPA-registered insect repellents are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. If you are also using sunscreen, apply that first. And do not spray it on your skin and then put clothes over it.

And speaking of clothes, I recommend you wear long sleeves and long pants, especially if near swamps, forests or bog areas.

This week on The Dr. Nandi Show we’re discussing the “New Age of Parenting”. Raising children in today’s ever-changing world is certainly a challenge. With the internet and smartphones, life for our children is vastly different than when we were growing up. So in this episode, I talk with several parents and experts on what we can do to raise healthy, well-balanced children. Join me this Sunday, September 1st at 1 pm.