- The often deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis has now
been found in Maryland. This is the first time in 7 years that it has emerged
in Maryland. It had not been seen in humans or horses in Maryland for the
past 7 years.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis is far more deadly then West
Nile Virus. Health authorities should be sounding the waring alarm up and
down the east coast as well as throughout the US. West Nile Virus sometimes
causes encephalitis, however, EEE ALWAYS causes encephalitis. Eastern Equine
Encephalitis (EEE) like West Nile Virus is vectored by mosquitos. We need
to mosquito proof our property as much as possible. As I mentioned on the
program, those who are physically able can help the folks in your neighborhood
who are ill or elderly and are unable to clean up their property and dump
standing water etc. Mosquitos, as well as fleas, biting flies and ticks
recognize no borders, and do not respect fences. Mosquito proofing clean
up IS a community activity.
- Patricia Doyle
- From ProMED-mail
- By Howard Libit Baltimore Sun
- 2 horses on the Eastern Shore of Maryland have tested
positive for eastern equine Encephalitis (EEE), the first time in 7 years
that the often-deadly mosquito-borne disease has been found in animals
or humans in Maryland, state officials announced.
- The confirmation of equine encephalitis near Pocomoke
City in Worcester County sparked serious concern among both agricultural
and health officials, who said the infection poses far more danger than
West Nile virus.
- "This has a very high fatality rate in human cases,
and it is very fatal in horses," said Dr. Tracy DuVernoy, the Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene's acting state public health veterinarian.
"Other animals are very susceptible, too." In addition to horses,
equine encephalitis frequently infects ratites -- flightless birds that
include ostriches and emus. Signs in both horses and ratites include apprehension,
depression, listlessness, paralysis, lack of coordination, weakness, head-pressing,
circling, and stumbling, according to state agricultural officials.
- Spread by bites from infected mosquitoes, equine encephalitis
can cause brain swelling. Up to half the people who are infected and develop
neurological symptoms die from the illness, compared with fewer than 10
percent of people who suffer a West Nile virus neurological infection,
according to state officials.
- Already in 2003, a Georgia man died of an equine encephalitis
infection, and many cases have been reported in horses in 4 southeastern
states. The last reported human case of equine encephalitis in Maryland
was in 1989, DuVernoy said. The Dorchester County man died.
- While mosquitoes carrying the equine encephalitis virus
have been captured occasionally in Maryland, the last time a horse was
found to be infected was in 1996, said Sue duPont of the Maryland Department
of Agriculture (MDA).
- The 2 horses in Worcester were found on separate farms
outside of Pocomoke City that are about 6 miles apart, duPont said. After
displaying neurological symptoms, both were euthanized. Tests of their
brain tissue confirmed the diagnosis.
- Additional aerial spraying for mosquitoes is already
being planned for the areas around the 2 farms said Cyrus Lesser, chief
of the state Department of Agriculture's mosquito control division. Final
approval is being sought from the local government officials and the Federal
Aviation Administration, and then the state must notify the community of
the planned spraying. "This is something we want to spray for as soon
as we can," Lesser said. It is not believed that an equine encephalitis
infection in horses can be spread [directly, without a mosquito bite] to
humans, so no additional steps are being taken for the people who live
on or near the 2 farms, DuVernoy said.
- But local health officials have been reminded to be vigilant
for the infection's symptoms. Symptoms in humans include fever, headache,
mental confusion, vomiting, extreme fatigue, muscle aches and -- in extreme
cases -- seizure and coma, according to state health officials. Suspected
cases are required to be reported to the state.
- Officials also renewed their warnings to Marylanders
to take precautions against mosquitoes, particularly for people older than
age 50. Those steps include eliminating standing water where mosquitoes
breed, as well as wearing long sleeves, long pants, and mosquito repellant
when outdoors. Windows and door screens should be checked to ensure they're
intact, and outdoor activity should be avoided at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes
are more active.
- Although human vaccines haven't yet been developed, vaccines
exist to protect horses from both equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.
State agricultural officials could not say yesterday what percentage of
Maryland horses have been protected, but they have recently been encouraging
horse owners to take advantage of the vaccines.
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging
Diseases" message board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health