What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus?

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What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus? Blog Image


A rare mosquito-borne virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, was recently reported in the US states of Alabama and New York.

About Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus:


  • It is an extremely rare but serious and often fatal infection that causes encephalitis or inflammation of the brain.
  • EEE got its name because researchers first discovered the virus in horses (equines) in the 1830s.
  • The virus can affect how your brain and nerves function. 
  • It is spread by the bite of a mosquito infected with EEE virus (EEEV). 
  • It can also infect a wide range of animals including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. 
  • Fatality Rate: About 30% of people bitten by an EEE-infected mosquito develop encephalitis and die from the infection.
  • Is EEE contagious?
    • It is not contagious. The virus can only spread to humans through an infected mosquito bite.
    • It can’t spread from human to human or from horses (or other animals) to humans.
  • Symptoms:
    • EEEV infections in humans can vary in severity. Many people infected with the virus do not develop any symptoms (asymptomatic).
    • However, when symptoms do occur, they can include fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and various neurological symptoms such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which can lead to seizures, coma, and, in some cases, death.
    • Severe cases are more common in infants and the elderly.
  • Treatment:
    • There is no human vaccine for EEE or anti-viral drugs for treatment of EEE.
    • Supportive care is provided to manage symptoms, especially in severe cases.


Q1) What is a Vaccine?

A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular disease. It typically consists of a weakened, inactivated, or a small portion of the disease-causing agent, such as a virus or bacteria, or a synthetic mimic of it. The purpose of a vaccine is to stimulate the immune system to recognize and remember the pathogen (the disease-causing agent) without causing the disease itself.

Source: Rare mosquito-borne illness eastern equine encephalitis reported in Alabama and New York, causes one death