EEE protection

What is it?

EEE stands for Eastern equine encephalitis, which is a rare viral disease spread by infected mosquitoes.

Why should I care?

Most people who are exposed to EEE have no symptoms or have flu-like symptoms. But some people become very ill and develop encephalitis, a serious and potentially deadly brain disease.

Approximately a third of all people who develop encephalitis from the virus die from the disease. Those who recover may suffer long-lasting and serious effects.

What are the symptoms of EEE?

The incubation period for EEE ranges from four to 10 days. When symptoms appear, they can be sudden and include chills, fever, headache, muscle pain, general discomfort and a need to lie down. If the virus does not resolve, encephalitis may develop. Symptoms of encephalitis include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions and coma.

When and where should I seek medical help?

If you are experiencing symptoms and have had mosquito bites, please call your primary health provider. As always, if you are experiencing trouble breathing or tightness in the chest, call 911 and seek help from the nearest emergency department.

What is the treatment for EEE?

Because EEE is viral, antibiotics will not cure it. Doctors will provide supportive, comfort treatment and will treat complications, such as brain swelling or bacterial pneumonia.

How can I prevent EEE?

The best way to prevent EEE is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes bite during the day and night, especially at dawn and dusk. Some ways to avoid mosquito bites include:

  • Wear mosquito repellent
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Treat clothing and gear with repellent
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors
  • Avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are the most active
  • Cancel or reschedule events at dawn and dusk

More tips to prevent mosquito bites are available at the CDC website.

What kind of mosquito repellent is best?

According to the CDC, Use (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

  • DEET
  • Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
  • IR3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Para-menthane-diol
  • 2-undecanone

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information at the CDC website.

Get tips from an infectious disease specialist and learn about the rise in EEE cases in this Spectrum Health Beat article.