Deadly, rare, mosquito-borne virus is now in Indiana

Published: Sep. 16, 2019 at 8:18 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A deadly and rare mosquito-borne virus has made its way to Indiana and surrounding states.

The virus called Eastern equine Encephalitis (EEE) is spreading rapidly and closing in on WAVE Country.

Public health officials in Northern Indiana said the virus was found in three horses and a cluster of mosquitoes in Elkhart County, about four hours north of Louisville.

So far, no one in Indiana has been diagnosed with the virus but officials warn that it’s only a matter of time.

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every third person who gets the virus will die if it's not caught soon enough.

The virus has killed two people, one in Michigan and another in Massachusetts and a five-year-old girl in Boston is in critical condition.

More than a dozen human cases have been confirmed, making this the worse outbreak seen in five to 10 years, according to the CDC.

EEE also has killed dozens of horses across several states.

Mosquitoes transmit the virus which attacks the brain and causes swelling.

Those who deal with the virus may see permanent brain damage which can lead to seizures, mental impairment, and even personality changes.

Symptoms can appear four to 10 days after a mosquito bite. Symptoms include a sudden fever, headache, chills, and vomiting, followed by disorientation, seizures, and falling into a coma.

Insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing can help to ward off mosquitos. Those who are outdoors when mosquitos are most active are recommended to wear long sleeves and pants when the weather permits.

Screens on windows and doors must be secured to keep mosquitos out.

While there hasn't been much rain lately, mosquito breeding grounds are still out there. Standing water should be emptied from buckets, flowerpots and other containers around homes.

Those trying to beat the heat with a kid blow up pool, empty the water and flip it over after each use.

Call your doctor immediately if you suspect that you may have the virus.

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