What You Need to Know: Encephalitis

Health officials warn of Eastern equine encephalitis in Florida

Health officials in Florida are warning about a mosquito-borne virus that has been found in the Sunshine State.

Experts said several sentinel chickens have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis. The virus can spread to humans through infected mosquitoes, CNN reported.

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It can cause brain infection and swelling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are usually seven cases of EEE in the U.S. every year, according to CNN.

In 2012, the CDC reported 15 cases of EEE and 2010 had 10 cases. Most of the 72 cases over the 10-year reporting period came from Florida. The state had 13 cases from 2009 to 2018, according to the CDC.

While cases are few, about 30% of those diagnosed with EEE will die. The 70% who survive will have ongoing neurological problems, CNN reported.

You can protect yourself and your family by getting rid of standing water around your home which is a mosquito breeding ground, using mosquito repellent, wearing clothes that cover exposed areas of your skin and using screens in windows and doors to keep mosquitoes at bay, CNN reported.

Symptoms of encephalitis include headache, fever, muscle or joint aches and fatigue or weakness, the Mayo Clinic warns. The symptoms could appear a few days to weeks after exposure to EEE, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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