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Going viral: You don’t want EEE

This month, New Hampshire recorded its first cases of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year. Both mosquito-borne illnesses are rare, so skeptical readers might wonder what all the fuss is about. Having your brain swell until you die, for starters.

Here are two sentences from the Centers for Disease Control that ought to pique the interest of anyone who lives in a place where EEE is found: 'EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors. There is no specific treatment for EEE.'

In 2005, two Granite Staters died after contracting EEE. Because it is spread by mosquitoes and can affect anyone, it is wise for the public and public officials to take precautions.

West Nile Virus also is unpleasant. 'The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis,' according to the CDC.

So do not be upset if your town is spending money spraying for mosquitoes in the next few weeks. And wear bug spray when out at dusk or dawn. Chances are, you will never contract either disease (a Manchester resident was diagnosed with West Nile Virus earlier this month). But the consequences of getting either are such that precautions are warranted.

Eric Church
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