Thursday, August 02, 2018 by Janine Acero
Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) is a form of mosquito-borne viral infection which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It’s caused by the Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus, which, as its name suggests, typically affects horses. However, humans are also a common host to the virus.
In humans, VEE usually causes mild to severe flu-like symptoms. However, four to 14 percent of cases lead to neurological complications. Fatalities in humans are rare – at about one percent of all reported cases.
A variety of other animals may also be affected, such as cats, dogs, cattle, goats, pigs, rodents, and birds.
The VEE virus is transmitted through mosquito bites, but it’s also contagious through inhaling aerosols.
Generally, the signs of VEE last between three and eight days and can have two phases (biphasic), recurring four to eight days after the initial symptoms.
A person with VEE may experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and severe headache, two to five days after exposure to the virus. In rare cases, somnolence (drowsiness), convulsions, confusion, photophobia (light sensitivity), and coma occur four to 10 days after exposure.
This virus can cause long-term neurological damage. In pregnant women, it can infect the fetus and cause congenital disabilities and stillbirths.
The groups most at risk of encephalitis are:
Mosquitoes and ticks can also carry viruses that cause encephalitis; you’re more likely to get encephalitis in the summer or fall when these insects are most active.
As mentioned above, VEE can cause long-term problems as a result of damage to the brain. These problems can have a significant impact on the overall quality of life of the affected person, their family, friends, and care-givers. These complications may include:
There are no specific food items or nutrients that may prevent VEE, but there are foods and herbs that help manage the general symptoms of viral infections. These are:
Encephalitis needs to be treated immediately. Treatment involves relieving the symptoms and supporting bodily functions and the immune system. Possible treatments may include:
If there’s no treatment for the underlying cause, treatment is given to support the body, relieve symptoms, and allow the best chance of recovery.
Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) is a mosquito-borne viral infection which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It’s caused by the Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus, which typically affects horses, although humans are also a common host to the virus.
In humans, VEE usually causes flu-like symptoms. However, four to 14 percent of cases lead to neurological complications.
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