Turns Out, Mosquitoes Can Carry A Rare But Severe Virus That Causes Brain Swelling

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You know what stresses me out? Bug-borne illnesses. Especially those that are carried by mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes are almost impossible to avoid, especially here in the south! Texas mosquitoes are like pack animals!

Last fall a little 5-year-old girl from Massachusetts named Sophia Garabedian came down with a fever that wouldn’t go away and a painful headache. Then one morning her parents found her unresponsive. Every parent’s worst nightmare right there!

When the doctors diagnosed her, it was with eastern equine encephalitis. It’s a rare virus that is severe and can be fatal! The mosquito-borne virus causes brain swelling.

Thankfully she survived, but she was in the hospital for about a month! She still has speech and memory problems and has therapy to help her as she recovers.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is also referred to as EEE. Last summer it was found in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. From the North to the South! There were 38 human cases and 15 deaths!

Public health officials are warning that this summer could also be a bad summer for EEE as well as other insect-borne viruses and illnesses. In fact, health officials in New Jersey and Massachusetts have already detected EEE in mosquitoes this year, however, there have not been any human or animal cases found yet.

EEE isn’t the only thing we need to be cautious about, Michigan has also had their first West Nile Virus case of the season found in a captive Hawk. I have had friends get West Nile Virus here in Texas. Now, it isn’t as severe as EEE, but it is more common.

The symptoms of West Nile Virus are fever, body aches/pain, headaches. There are other symptoms that could be experienced as well. Some people say it feels kind of like a bad flu.

Make sure you are wearing mosquito repellent! Long sleeves and pants are helpful as well especially during the morning and evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.

Ticks are another thing that you need to be aware of and watch out for. My grandmother contracted Lyme disease from a deer tick many years ago. I have several friends that suffer from Lyme disease and it is no joke!

Since we had such a mild winter, both ticks and mosquitos are more prevalent this summer. Now, people are spending more time outdoors due to coronavirus.

Families that never go camping or hiking are now taking the time to do these things. That’s great, but please make sure you educate yourself on how to protect your entire family from mosquitos and ticks the best that you can.

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