EEE, rare mosquito-borne virus, found in Atlantic County, N.J. resident

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The New Jersey Department of Health confirms a case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis was found in an Atlantic County resident.

The virus transmitted through a mosquito bite has been diagnosed in 21 people in six states, and five people have died.

The Atlantic County resident is receiving treatment, according to county health officials.

They're urging other residents to continue to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

EEE which can also kill horses is most common around swamps.

About one-third of people with Eastern Equine Encephalitis die from the disease and there is significant brain damage in most survivors. While there is a vaccine for horses, there is no vaccine for people.

"We cannot stress enough the importance of protecting yourself and your loved ones," County Executive Dennis Levinson said. "We all need to do our best to 'fight the bite.' And anyone who experiences symptoms following a mosquito bite should seek medical assistance."

Most infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis have no apparent illness, officials say, however, some can be very ill. Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite. The illness may then progress to disorientation, seizures, or coma.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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