Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

Key Facts
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is passed to humans by infected mosquitoes.
  • Anyone who lives in an area where EEE has been reported is at risk.
  • The best way to lessen your risk is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes: see full guide.
  • Young men's version of this guide

mosquitoIf you live in an area where there have been cases of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV), you may have heard about it on the news. Although it is rare, EEE is very serious. People who are infected with the EEEV become very sick and can die of complications; however, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

What is EEE?

EEE stands for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as “Triple E.” You can’t get EEE from another person. It’s a virus that is caused by an infected mosquito. The infected mosquito has to bite a person to infect them. However, not all mosquitoes carry EEE. The ones that do are found in certain areas.

Who is a risk for getting EEEV?

  • Anyone who lives in an area where the EEEV has been reported
  • People who spend a lot of time outside especially in wooded or swampy areas
  • People that have chronic health conditions and/or a weak immune system

What are the symptoms of EEEV?

Symptoms usually start about 4-10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

  • High fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Feeling very tired
  • Nausea and vomiting- (feeling like you need to throw up or throwing up)
  • Stiff neck
  • Eyes are sensitive to light

Advanced symptoms/Signs of brain inflammation (Encephalitis):

  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Coma

How can I protect myself from EEE?

The best way to lower your risk of getting EEEV is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitos.

  • Use an insect repellant with either DEET, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Wear clothes such long pants and long-sleeved shirts when you’re outside
  • Try not to spend time outside when mosquitoes are biting- particularly late afternoon to early morning
  • Stay away from areas that have “stagnant water” or puddles of water where mosquitoes live; empty buckets, bird baths or other containers with open water which are breeding places for mosquitoes

What else should I know about EEE?

Other medical conditions can cause similar symptoms as EEE, that’s why it’s important to talk to your health care provider whenever you’re feeling sick or have a fever, bad headache, nausea and vomiting or other symptoms such as feeling very tired or not like yourself.

EEE remains a serious health risk for anyone living, working or playing in affected areas until there is a “hard” freeze or frost, not just a brief time when the weather is <32֯. Practicing ways to protect yourself will greatly lower your risk of coming in contact with mosquitoes that carry EEE. Talk to your health care provider and find out about the areas in the United States that have been affected.

Read more about EEE: https://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/index.html
Information about recommended insect repellants: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents