Michigan teen in critical condition after being diagnosed with EEE

Posted at 7:18 AM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 07:18:09-04

(WXYZ) — A teenager from Michigan is in critical condition nearly two months after being diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Savannah DeHart, a 14-year-old who lives near Kalamazoo, was diagnosed with the disease back in August.

Her parents say the symptoms started with a headache, and by the next morning, she needed a ventilator to breathe.

After weeks in intensive care, doctors say her condition is improving, but she is still on a ventilator.

There have been 10 confirmed human cases of EEE this year and four deaths due to the virus.

EEE is the most dangerous mosquito-borne disease in the U.S., with a 33 percent fatality rate.

Health officials advise people to follow these guidelines to protect themselves:

  • Avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitos that carry the EEE virus are most active.
  • Applying insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
  • Using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.