ATLANTIC COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) – The first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, has been confirmed, the New Jersey Health Department says. EEE is one of several mosquito-borne illnesses.
EEE has been detected in 65 mosquito samples in 13 New Jersey counties, including Somerset and Union Counties.READ MORE: Investigation Underway After Rabid Dog Imported From Middle East Ends Up In Chester County
The virus is most common in and around swamps in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and in the Great Lakes region, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been five reported deaths in three states: Michigan, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Someone infected with EEE have no apparent illness, but they can be very ill. Symptoms in severe cases include sudden headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting four to 10 days after a mosquito bite. Officials say the illness could progress to disorientation, seizures, or a coma.
Atlantic County officials are warning residents to continue to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association Launches Vaccination Initiative Targeting Hospitality Workers
There is no vaccine for EEE at this time but people can protect themselves by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors, removing standing water their surroundings, cleaning gutters or water and debris, and installing or repairing window and door screens to keep them out of dwellings.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of protecting yourself and your loved ones,” County Executive Dennis Levinson said. “We all need to do our best to ‘Fight the bite.’ And anyone who experiences symptoms following a mosquito bite should seek medical assistance.”
West Nile Virus is another mosquito-borne illness and two Atlantic County residents have contracted it.MORE NEWS: Police: 17-Year-Old Shot In Head, Killed In Southwest Philadelphia
All three individuals in Atlantic County are receiving medical treatment.