EEE - 3 Letters That Spell Mosquito Danger

Author: Matt Beam - Staff Biologist

The mosquito season in 2019 reminded us that mosquitoes can be more than just a nuisance. They can be downright dangerous, even deadly. EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitus, is a rare mosquito-borne disease made its presence known in North Carolina. A resident in Catawba County was infected with this sometimes deadly virus in 2019.

EEE was found in 9 states across the East Coast and Midwest and resulted in 15 deaths. It can only be transmitted by mosquitoes. The symptoms, in most cases, are flu-like with fever and chills when it does not attack the central nervous system. Most infected people believe they have a bad summer cold and the disease never gets diagnosed or recognized. So, there could have been many more cases of the disease than the 37 reported.

When it does attack the nervous system is when things get more dangerous. These  include:

  • Severe fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Coma

1/3 of all people that acquire the disease die from it. Most are children and elderly. Infants can have lifetime neurological disorders.

So, how do you avoid EEE and other mosquito and tick related illnesses? There are steps you can take at home.

  1. Remove standing water and anything that can hold it like flower pots, tires, buckets, Mosquitoes lay their eggs in or near standing water.
  2. Tightly cover storage containers or rain barrels or other items that can collect water.
  3. Larvacide water that cannot be removed.
  4. Use bug repellant
  5. Wear light colors and long sleeves and pants. Mosquitoes go to bright colors.
  6. Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk. Many of the species of mosquitoes we have are most active at those times.
  7. Treat your home for mosquitoes and ticks, if necessary

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses and effective mosquito control for your family and pets, go to Mosquito Squad to learn more.