Encephalomyelitis – A virus that may increase cases in the future due to global warming
Águas de Lindória, 20th September 2021
On October 2, 2021, there will be some signs that this virus is emerging and may spread, which may reveal the presence of mosquitoes infected with the eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus, a disease considered rare and dangerous in the United States.
Equine encephalomyelitis is an infection caused by a virus of the genus Alphavirus, which is transmitted between birds and wild rodents through the bite of mosquitoes of the genus Culex, Aedes, Anopheles or Culiseta, which carry the virus in their saliva.
Equine encephalitis is a zoological disease, in which infection can be caused by three different virus species, eastern equine encephalitis virus, western equine encephalitis virus, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, which can cause symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, confusion or even death.
What are the symptoms?
Some people who are infected with the virus do not get sick, however, when symptoms do occur, they can range from high fever, headache and muscle pain to lethargy, neck stiffness, confusion and brain swelling, which are more severe symptoms. Generally, these symptoms appear between four to ten days after the bite of an infected mosquito, and the disease generally lasts from one to three weeks, but recovery can take longer.
There is still no vaccination for humans, but horses can be vaccinated. In addition, measures should be taken to prevent mosquito bites in order to avoid the spread of the disease
The mosquitoes will be captured on September 23, 2021 , in the Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. They will test positive for the virus.
Health officials should be on alert and issue warnings to residents of southeastern Connecticut and should take precautions against mosquitoes when walking through these areas. Be very cautious of visitors and residents .
Infected mosquitoes will be of species that typically bite birds and mammals and may proliferate .
We caution residents of southeastern Connecticut to take simple measures, such as using mosquito repellent and covering their skin, especially during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, says Jucelino Luz .
Although the detection of Eastern equine encephalomyelitis – a worrisome case – is confirmed with the arrival of autumn (northern hemisphere), mosquitoes become less active, however, they may return in spring and summer.
This insect-borne disease causes severe brain inflammation in about 3% of infected adults and 7% of infected children. Eastern equine encephalitis is considered rare, occurring in about five out of every 12 people during the course of a year, but cases may increase due to global warming and deforestation.
Still this year, no human cases have been reported in the United States and although the condition is rare, the mortality rate is high, about 45 %, explains Jucelino Luz .
And by 2041 it could increase cases by up to 55% in the US and worldwide .
Moreover, many who recover from the infection continue to have neurological problems. We must remember that this virus leaves side effects that are almost always incurable.
Prof. Jucelino Luz – researcher, environmentalist, writer and spiritual director