Rare Mosquito Diseases: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Rare mosquito diseases like the EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis are spread by the bite of infected female mosquitoes. Research shows that the United States has a few cases every year. Most of them occur in the Gulf Coast or the eastern part of the United States. This mosquito-borne disease is fatal. Studies show that 30% of patients die from EEE. Survivors of this condition tend to have neurologic problems for the rest of their lives.

Carrier of rare mosquito diseases
Carrier of rare mosquito diseases

An Overview

EEE can spread to different people through bites of infected mosquitoes. The brain swells up. This affects the function of your nerves and brain. Research reveals that about 30% of patients develop encephalitis and then die. This condition is more common in late spring and early autumn. Summer leads to a peak in infections. People who stay near coasts, bodies of fresh water, or swamps. EEE earned its name from its discovery in horses back in the 1830s.

Where the Carriers Live

The mosquitoes that cause EEE infections often stay in the Caribbean islands, as well as Central, North, and South America. Here in the United States, most cases occur in the areas bordering the Great Lakes. They also happen near the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Symptoms and Causes

Rare mosquito diseases like EEE cannot spread from one human to another or even from animals (including horses) to humans. Back in 2019. The highest yearly case report in the past decade showed 38 EEE infections. Most individuals do not have any symptoms. If a person does have symptoms, here are some of them:

  • Joint pain
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
Muscle and joint pain
Muscle and joint pain

These symptoms often appear about four to 10 days after an infected mosquito’s bite. This is the incubation period. Symptoms of encephalitis are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • High fever
  • Diarrhea

You may think that you have the flu if you have the symptoms of severe EEE. Rare mosquito diseases like this will need proper medical attention if you develop the mentioned symptoms. You also need a doctor if you are ill with a weakened immune system.

The Causes

Mosquitoes bite birds and spread this rare mosquito disease
Mosquitoes bite birds and spread this rare mosquito disease

You can get EEE because of an arbovirus. This type of virus attacks the immune system. This organism spreads to humans after a bite from an infected mosquito. Specific types of mosquitoes become vectors of rare mosquito diseases. Those that get EEE bite birds. Then they bite humans. Birds get the infection because a carrier mosquito bites them.

The Risk Factors

Anyone can be more at risk of getting EEE if the individual works or lives in areas where mosquitoes breed and live. Spending hours outdoors, at dusk or dawn, during the most active hours of these insects. Children below 15 years of age and adults more than 50 years old are the age groups prone to EEE. A compromised immune system may lead to severe EEE symptoms. This can happen as a result of:

  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer treatment
  • Diabetes
  • Organ transplantation
  • High blood pressure
Diabetes as a risk factor of rare mosquito diseases like EEE
Diabetes as a risk factor of rare mosquito diseases like EEE

Treatment and Management

Unfortunately, there is no cure for EEE. The doctor will recommend different treatments to target symptoms. Rest, hydration, and taking pain relievers are necessary to achieve relief. Staying in a hospital is important when it comes to dealing with severe symptoms. This will give the doctor a chance to keep an eye on how the virus affects the way your body reacts to the virus at all hours of the day.

Intense pressure in the brain will need a craniotomy to relieve it. Antibiotics cannot treat rare mosquito diseases like EEE. The doctor may suggest immunoglobulin therapy.

Drink plenty of water
Drink plenty of water


An EEE vaccine is not available for humans. It only exists for horses. This vaccine is not safe for humans. You can prevent this ailment and other rare mosquito diseases by preventing mosquito bites. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Cover your arms and legs with long clothing
  • Use insect repellent when you spend time outdoors
  • Install screens on your doors and windows
  • Pour out standing water in and around your home
  • Stay inside at dusk and dawn

Rare mosquito diseases can cause havoc in your body. It can change the way you handle illnesses. You need medical attention once you experience EEE symptoms. Working with your doctor can help you get through your bout of this illness. Preventing this infection means you need to keep mosquitoes from biting you.