Cases of the deadly mosquito borne virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis — along with other insect-carrying diseases– are expected to skyrocket in the northeast in the coming years, a troubling new report claims.
Last year, the US recorded 38 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease and 15 deaths. In the northeast, Massachusetts saw 12 cases, and four each in Connecticut and New Jersey, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By comparison, in the last decade, the highest number of total cases in the country was 15, with five deaths, in 2012.
As winters grow warmer and the spring and summer seasons get hotter and wetter, EEE spreads, according to a deep dive on the virus posted Wednesday on Medium.
“These conditions are predicted to both persist and become more extreme in the Northeast over the coming decades,” the author, Australian researcher Oscar Schwartz, wrote.
“By 2035, the region is projected to be more than 2.6 degrees warmer on average than during the preindustrial era, and the freeze-free period between spring and fall is expected to last up to three weeks longer. This will increase the period during which EEE can be transmitted and likely spur other vector-borne diseases in the region, like West Nile virus and Lyme disease, which some researchers predict could increase by almost 92%.”
Around 95 percent of people bitten by an EEE-infected mosquito don’t develop an infection.
But that didn’t stop some states from taking precautions in preventing the spread of the disease last fall.
Connecticut shut down campsites, the Rhode Island Philharmonic rescheduled its outdoor concerts and football games in Michigan were moved from Friday night to Saturday morning, with players doused in repellent before hitting the gridiron, the Medium report said.
Those infected with EEE suffer symptoms ranging from flu-like to permanent neurological damage. About 30 percent die from the infection.
“It’s mostly seizures, paralysis and nerve dysfunction,” Dr. Elitza Theel, director of the Mayo Clinic Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory, told The Post last year.
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