Summer may recede in the fall, but the slowly chilling weather has not yet led to a decline in mosquito-borne diseases – namely, rare equine eastern encephalitis (EEE). Potentially deadly virus cases have been reported this summer in states across the country, such as Rhode Island, Michigan and, more recently, Connecticut.
However, a number of EEE cases with humans have been reported in Massachusetts. was particularly hard hit by the virus this year. Health officials there recently confirmed that another resident was infected with EEE, marking the state's eighth case this year.
On average, five to 10 cases of EEE are reported each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
MASSACHUSETS WOMAN REPLY FROM THE RARE MOSCOW-BORAVA TURAUU 7 ]
Mosquitoes become infected with EEE after feeding on an infected bird ̵
p. Catherine Brown, a Massachusetts state epidemiologist, told LiveScience that Florida birds – which have long been involved with EEE – migrate to New England every year, especially in a state with a particularly dense population of marsh red maples and white cedars: Massachusetts.  Although a certain mosquito species in the swamps feed on infected birds, other mosquito species sometimes feed on the birds and subsequently become vectors. These mosquitoes then transmit the virus to humans and other mammals, namely horses, which, according to the CDC, are particularly susceptible. (Humans and mammals are considered "host" hosts, but the virus does not spread from animal to animal, human to human, animal to human or vice versa.)
After several years, EEE-infected birds build up immunity to the virus , according to LiveScience. When this happens, transmission is not as efficient, leading to a decline in EEE cases.
However, the birds reproduce, the eggs hatch, and the older, immune birds eventually die. Younger, immunity-less birds are susceptible to EEE and the cycle begins again, Brown explained. Sometimes migrating birds carry an EEE strain, other birds are not immunized, which further prolongs the cycle.
"Taken together, these factors cause outbreaks in Massachusetts every 10 to 20 years and can last for several years," LiveScience reports.
EEE "is one of a group of mosquito-borne viruses that can cause brain inflammation (encephalitis)," says the CDC. The virus is more common in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast countries, although there are also cases in the Great Lakes region.
EEE symptoms usually appear four to 10 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito. Severe cases of the virus "start with the sudden onset of headaches, fever, chills and vomiting," says the CDC, which notes, "then the disease can go into disorientation, seizures and coma."
] RHODE ISLAND SEES FIRST EEE DEATH OF 2007, OFFICIALS IMAGE
One third of EEE infected viruses die; Survivors usually have "mild to severe brain damage." There is no specific treatment for the infection.
Massachusetts health officials on Monday announced that they continue to spray mosquitoes – particularly in areas of the state that are considered at increased risk for the virus, according to a statement.
The best way to prevent the EEE virus and other mosquito-borne diseases is by leaking stagnant water – such as in bird baths, buckets or rooftop pools – as stagnant water can serve as a place for breeding of these insects. Other preventative measures include covering the skin with trousers and long-sleeved shirts while outside and proper use of DEET insect repellent.