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Sixth Person Dies of EEE

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    Posted: November 20 2019 at 3:08am
Michigan farmer becomes the sixth person to die of mosquito-borne EEE virus during the state's historic outbreak of the untreatable infection
jim Whitmore of Eu Claire, Michigan died on Saturday November 16
He was rushed to the hospital with a high fever on August 19 and diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis
The US - and Michigan and Massachusetts in particular - have seen unusually high numbers of the mosquito-borne disease in 2019
It has sickened 36 across the US and killed 13
There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease which has now sickened 10 and killed six, including Whitmore, in Michigan.

published: 21:55, 19 November 2019 | Updated: 00:05, 20 November 2019

a Michigan farmer has become the sixth person to die in the state's historic outbreak of the mosquito-borne Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus.

Jim Whitmore of Eau Claire battled the infection for three months, before finally succumbing to the brain-swelling disease on Saturday, local news station WNDU reported.

After being rushed to the ER by ambulance on August 19 with a very high fever, Jim lost consciousness and never awoke.

EEE is infamous for causing life-threatening brain swelling that comes on suddenly and kills one third of those who contract the disease after being bitten by a mosquito.

this year, as temperatures rise and people encroach on the swampy natural habitats of mosquitoes, several states have seen nearly unprecedented numbers of cases, including Massachusetts with 12 cases and Michigan with 10 cases and six deaths.

nationwide in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports of 36 cases of EEE.

Of those who are sick, 13 have died.

In a typical year, US health officials would expect to see just seven cases.

The last year of unusually high numbers of EEE cases was 2012, when 15 cases were confirmed by the agency - less than half the number seen in 2019.

Like many infectious diseases, EEE tends to strike the old, the young and those with compromised immune systems, initially triggering a high fever and flu-like symptoms.

but if the virus travels up to the brain, it can cause brain swelling - or encephalitis - which, in turn, causes seizures and thrust a victim into a coma.

There is no treatment for the virus which it reaches this disease stage.

All doctors can do is provide support in the form a ventilator and IV fluids and hope that the devastating swelling subsides.

If it does, patients are more often than not left with neurological damage. In a third of cases it never does, and those patients typically die within two to 10 days - but may die much later.

whitright's fight was much longer but with little variation.

On October 10, 52 days after he was first brought to the hospital, family friend Amanda LaFountain wrote on the GoFundMe set up for the family that little had changed.

'There is not a lot to update on behalf of Jim, other than he is still hanging in there and fighting the good fight,' she wrote of the fourth generation farmer.

'Some days/weeks are better than others and often times feels like it is one step forward and two steps back.

'We're hoping and patiently waiting for the day he can wake up.'

It's undoubtedly agonizing for families to watch their loved ones fight an illness with no treatment or even a vaccine that could have prevented the disease from taking hold in the first place.

As cases of the infection surged in Florida, New York, Michigan, North Carolina Georgia and Massachusetts, Senators Markey and Warren of the latter state requested information from federal researchers about any related viruses to EEE, in the hopes they might find some clues to treating or preventing the disease.

But no developments have materialized, and there was no saving treatment for Whitright.   

Another farmer, Bill Teichman, contracted EEE around the same time, according to WNDU. Teichman is ostensibly still battling the condition but his exact status is unclear.

Though no treatments or vaccines have been developed, the virus's activity is already dying down as winter's falling temperatures sweep the country, killing off the mosquitoes that carry the disease.
Source and victim's Photo:   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7703425/Michigan-farmer-sixth-person-die-mosquito-borne-EEE-virus.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2019 at 10:27pm
This looks like it could get worse in years to come with more summer warming. At least Arctic blasts of cold weather help dampen it down in winter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2019 at 3:50am
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Eastern equine encephalitis virus poses emergent threat, say NIH officials

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What

Although eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne illness, has existed for centuries, 2019 has been a particularly deadly year for the disease in the United States. As of November 12, 36 confirmed cases of EEE had been reported by eight states; 13 of these cases were fatal. In a new commentary in The New England Journal of Medicine, officials from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, describe the eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) that causes EEE, current research efforts to address EEE, and the need for a national strategy to address the growing threat of EEEV and other emerging and re-emerging viruses spread by mosquitoes and ticks (known as arboviruses).

There were 12 documented U.S.-based EEE epidemics between 1831 and 1959. The virus is spread between Culiseta melanura mosquitoes and various tree-perching birds found in forested wetlands. Occasionally, other mosquito species transmit the virus to people and other mammals. In people, EEEV takes roughly 3 to 10 days to cause symptoms. The virus initially causes fever, malaise, intense headache, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting; specific diagnostic testing may not reveal anything as EEEV is difficult to isolate from clinical samples, and testing for EEEV antibodies may be negative. Neurologic signs of EEE, which may appear within 5 days of infection, initially are nonspecific but rapidly progress. Most people (96%) infected with EEEV do not develop symptoms; however, of those who do, one-third or more die, and the others frequently suffer permanent and severe neurologic damage.

Although point-of-care diagnostics for EEE and many other mosquito-borne causes of encephalitis are not available, currently they would be of limited value in the absence of effective treatment, the authors write. So far, no antiviral drug has proven safe and effective against EEE, but many compounds are being assessed. Monoclonal antibodies have been found effective in an experimental animal model but only when given prior to infection. Patients with EEE are currently treated with supportive care, which often includes intensive care in a hospital and ventilator assistance. Patients with EEE are not infectious, and social support and counseling for both the patient and the family are vitally important given the seriousness of the disease, the authors write.

Several EEE vaccine candidates are in development but may have trouble reaching advanced development and licensure, according to the authors. EEE outbreaks are rare, brief and focal, and occur sporadically in unpredictable locations, making it difficult to identify an appropriate target population for vaccination. Efforts to develop mosquito-saliva vaccines that would be effective against multiple mosquito diseases, including EEE, are in early stages.

In the absence of effective EEE vaccines and treatments, state and local health departments can provide an early warning of imminent human infections by surveilling horses, birds and mosquitoes, but these efforts are threatened by insufficient funding, according to the authors. In recent years, the Americas have seen a growing number of emerging and re-emerging arboviruses, such as dengue, West Nile, chikungunya, Zika and Powassan. Although outbreaks of EEE disease thus far have been infrequent and focal, the spike in cases in 2019 and the looming presence of other, potentially deadly arboviruses in the United States and globally demand a national defense strategy for arboviruses and other vector-borne diseases, the authors write. Although the best way to address these viruses is not entirely clear, to “ignore them completely and do nothing would be irresponsible,” say the authors.
Article

DM Morens, GK Folkers, and AS Fauci. Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus—Another Emergent Arbovirus in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.10561/NEJMp1811661 (2019).
Who

NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to comment.
Contact

To schedule interviews, please contact the NIAID News Office at (301) 402-1663 or via e-mail at niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®



Source:   https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/eastern-equine-encephalitis-virus-poses-emergent-threat-say-nih-officials
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