BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Thursday, the state confirmed two more human cases of EEE, one day after a fifth case was confirmed in a man in his 70s from Middlesex County.
Several communities in the eastern part of the state are at high or critical risks for the mosquito-born virus. Aerial spraying took place in some parts of Worcester and Middlesex counties over the weekend.
According to the CDC, about a third of those infected die from the disease, usually within 2 to 10 days.
EEE can be systemic or encephalitic—either affecting the whole body, or causing swelling of the brain.
Symptoms to look out for in systemic EEE:
- Joint pain (arthralgia)
- Muscle pain (myalgia)
Symptoms to look out for in encephalitic EEE:
- Blue skin (Cyanosis)
In infants, encephalitic EEE comes on abruptly. In adults, it manifests "after a few days of systemic illness," according to the CDC.
Illness in systemic EEE typically lasts from 1 to 2 weeks.
For those who recover from EEE, the CDC says "many are left with disabling and progressive mental and physical sequelae, which can range from minimal brain dysfunction to severe intellectual impairment, personality disorders, seizures, paralysis, and cranial nerve dysfunction."
When inside, the CDC recommends using screens in doors and windows, and turning on air-conditioning.
The CDC requests that all cases of EEE be reported to local health authorities.
"Reporting can assist local, state, and national authorities to recognize outbreaks of this rare disease and to institute control measures to limit future infections," the CDC said.