An Indiana resident has died from the rare but serious mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), health officials announced over the weekend.
The resident was from Elkhart County. His or her case marks the first human one in the state since 1998, according to the Journal Gazette, which also noted the case was the fourth in the Hoosier state since 1964.
“It’s hard to imagine losing a loved one because of a mosquito bite, but unfortunately, mosquitoes carry diseases that can be life-threatening,” Dr. Kris Box, state health commissioner, said in a statement, according to The Journal Gazette.
EEE — a rare disease spread by infected mosquitoes — is known to cause brain inflammation. Survivors typically have mild to severe brain damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC). One-third of those infected with EEE die.
Symptoms of a severe EEE infection “begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting,” the CDC says.
There’s no specific treatment for the infection; antibiotics are not effective and no antiviral drugs have been discovered to date.
“Severe illnesses are treated by supportive therapy, which may include hospitalization, respiratory support, IV fluids, and prevention of other infections,” the federal health agency says. On average, five to 10 cases of EEE are reported each year in the U.S.
A spokesperson for the Indiana State Department of Health did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment on Monday.