Nervous System Home > Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Eastern equine encephalitis is among the most serious of a group of mosquito-borne viral diseases that can affect the central nervous system. This disease is found mainly along the eastern seaboard of the United States and on the eastern Gulf Coast. Symptoms can start with fever, headache, and other flu-like symptoms; however, these symptoms can sometimes escalate to seizure, coma, brain damage, and death. Since 1964, 163 cases of this disease have been confirmed in the United States.

What Is Eastern Equine Encephalitis?

Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare disease that is spread to horses and humans by infected mosquitoes. It is one of several mosquito-borne viral diseases that can affect the central nervous system and cause severe complications, including death.
 
The disease is found mainly along the eastern seaboard of the United States and on the eastern Gulf Coast. Currently, there is no specific treatment for eastern equine encephalitis; caregivers focus on relieving the symptoms. Prevention centers on controlling mosquitoes and avoiding mosquito bites.
 
Eastern equine encephalitis is among the most serious of a group of mosquito-borne viral diseases. Other similar diseases include:
 

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

Eastern equine encephalitis is caused by the eastern equine encephalitis virus, an arbovirus. Arbovirus is short for arthropod-borne virus. Arboviruses are viruses that are spread by certain invertebrate animals (arthropods), most commonly blood-sucking insects. In the United States, arboviruses are spread mainly by infected mosquitoes. Birds are the source of infection for mosquitoes, which can sometimes transmit the infection to horses, other animals, and, in rare cases, people.
 
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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