Child dies of Encephalitis; health officials urge residents to take precautions

ALBANY – State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, M.D., M.P.H., urged all New Yorkers to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites after mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus have been identified in areas of the state. A 4-year-old child from Oswego County died of EEE on Sunday.

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Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes that can affect people and horses. People who are infected may suffer a range of symptoms, from no symptoms to a mild, flu-like illness with fever, headaches and fatigue to serious illness involving seizures and, in rare cases, coma. More information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis is available at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/eastern_equine_encephalitis/fact_sheet.htm

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause serious illness and occasionally death. Many people who contract West Nile virus do not experience any type of illness, and an estimated 20 percent of people who become infected will develop mild symptoms including fever, headache and body aches, and possibly a skin rash or swollen lymph glands. Severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) causes symptoms such as high fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, headaches, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. It is estimated that one in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will experience more severe disease. More information on West Nile virus is available at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/west_nile_virus/.