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Venezuelan equine encephalitis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About Venezuelan equine encephalitis

Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) is a mosquito borne viral disease that affects the brain in some individuals. It periodically causes extensive epidemics and equine epizootics in Central and South America.

Venezuelan equine encephalitis: Incidence, age and sex

VEE outbreaks have produced as many as 30,000 human cases in a single year, with an equal number of fatal cases among horses in contemporaneous epizootics.

Signs & symptoms of venezuelan equine encephalitis: Diagnosis

Illness begins with an acute onset of intense headache, fever, and myalgia, so sudden that if often can be documented to an exact hour. Shaking chills, arthralgia, photophobia, ocular pain, nausea, vomiting. The entire course of the illness lasts less than a week. Few physical findings are present; the patient appears flushed and lethargic, has tender muscles, and may exhibit an injected pharynx and conjunctiva. Lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, and signs of pneumonia are seen in some patients

Causes and prevention of venezuelan equine encephalitis

During outbreaks, VEE virus is spread directly among horses and burros by mosquito vectors, with tangential transmission to humans but no human-to-human spread.

Live attenuated and killed vaccines are available for laboratory workers. Inactivated equine vaccines are administered routinely in some areas; however, inadequate inactivation resulting in residual infectious virus is suspected to have caused livestock deaths and epizootics. Travellers to enzootic areas must take precautions against mosquito bites.

Venezuelan equine encephalitis: Complications

Neurologic symptoms are rare and these include depressed sensorium, meningismus, generalized weakness, focal and generalized seizures. Of patients with CNS involvement, 20% die, and higher fatality rates are found among children younger than 5 years. Spontaneous abortion, congenital fetal infection, CNS and other malformation, and fetal death have been documented after infection during, pregnancy.

Venezuelan equine encephalitis: Treatment

Treatment is supportive like maintaining hydration, use of antipyretic, analgesics and anti-convulsants.