A Baldwin County resident has died from the mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis, commonly known as Triple E or sleeping sickness. The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed the first human case in Alabama since 2014.
The case became ill in September, according to the Department of Public Health. Triple E activity was reported earlier this year in a mosquito sample and a chicken in Mobile County and a horse from Houston County. The Department of Health recommends that the public wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits, use insect repellant and avoid mosquito breeding grounds like standing water in flower pots or furniture.
“Outdoor activities are increasing as the weather becomes more pleasant, like community youth league sports, fall festivals, hunting, and of course, football season. The best treatment is prevention,” said Sherri Davidson, ADPH interim state epidemiologist.
The disease begins with headaches, a high fever, chills and vomiting. It can also cause seizures and coma. A third of patients with confirmed EEE will die and those who survive will likely suffer from mild to severe brain damage. Thuse over the age of 50 years old or under the age of 15 are at greater risk, according to the department of public health. Those in close proximity to where the cases have been confirmed are at greater risk.