PROVIDENCE – The successful treatment of a 21-year-old patient with severe neuroinvasive Eastern Equine Encephalitis by Rhode Island Hospital, minimizing neurological deficits, was published July 8 in an online account in the journal Neurocritical Care.
“Every summer we hear about cases of EEE, and for the severe cases the outcomes are rarely favorable,” said lead author Dr. Linda C. Wendell of the department of neurology and neurosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital. “We were able to diagnose this patient quickly, and through an aggressive approach we were able to manage brain swelling, stop his seizures and significantly minimize brain injury.
“The patient was in great physical health, which no doubt contributed to his recovery,” she said. “It was a scary time for a few weeks, but he continues to make progress and we could not have hoped for a better outcome.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the U.S. It has a mortality rate of approximately 33 percent, and those who survive are likely to suffer significant brain damage. No specific treatment for EEE has been identified, rather care is based on the patient’s symptoms.
“There is no protocol for avoiding EEE, other than to be careful,” Wendell said. “Unfortunately in many areas of the country, mosquitoes are simply a fact of life – we can get bitten by them at any time during the warm weather months. But by protecting yourself with appropriate clothing, mosquito repellent and staying indoors during peak mosquito hours (dusk), you can minimize risk.” •