Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
EEE is a rare disease that is caused by a virus which is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most persons infected with EEE have no apparent illness. Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33% mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors. There is no specific treatment for EEE; care is based on symptoms. There is no vaccine or preventive drug available for humans. People of all ages are at risk for infection with the EEE virus but people over age 50 and younger than age 15 are at greatest risk for developing severe disease. This disease also affects livestock such as horses, emus, alpacas, etc. Please consult your veterinarian for more information on how to protect them.
- For more information please visit the CDC website on EEE
- MA Department of Health Fact Sheets on EEE:
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus (WNV) is an infectious disease that first appeared in the United States in 1999. Infected mosquitoes spread the virus that causes it. People who contract WNV usually have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Those with symptoms may have a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash or swollen lymph glands. If West Nile virus enters the brain, however, it can be deadly. It may cause inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, or inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis. Older people are most at risk. There are no specific vaccines or treatments for human WNV disease.
- For more information please visit the CDC website on WNV
- MA Department of Health Fact Sheets on WNV:
- American Academy of Microbiology publication: West Nile Virus FAQ
Chikungunya is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes. It is not established in the US. However, it is found in the Caribbean, Africa, Southern Europe and Southeast Asia. Anyone traveling to these areas should take precautions against mosquitoes. Two recent cases occurred in Rhode Island residents who had traveled to the Caribbean. Chikungunya causes fever and severe joint pain, often in the hands and feet. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Death is rare, but some people may develop long term joint pain as a result.
For more information on the Chikungunya:
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs and cats. Pets are infected through the bite of a mosquito, which introduces heartworm larvae into the animals' blood stream. Inside your pet, the young worms mature into adult worms in approximately 6 months. Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Cats may exhibit clinical signs that are very non-specific, mimicking many other feline diseases. Chronic clinical signs include vomiting, gagging, difficulty or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss
There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection in both dogs and cats, including monthly tablets and chewables, monthly topicals and a six-month injectable product available only for dogs. All of these methods are extremely effective, and when administered properly on a timely schedule, heartworm infection can be completely prevented. Please consult your veterinarian and have you pet tested for heartworm before starting any regime.