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Experts keep their eyes on another virus – the 'Triple E' or eastern equine encephalitis

Posted at 11:55 AM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 12:08:08-04

While all hands are on deck to combat the novel coronavirus, there is another virus that experts are keeping their eyes on – the EEE virus, commonly known as the "Triple E."

It stands for eastern equine encephalitis.

You may have heard of the virus last year when we started seeing more cases outside of Gulf Coast states, where the virus is normally seen.

"Triple E" can cause inflammation in the brain, which can be deadly.

In 2018, the United States only had six cases of "Triple E." In 2019, that number rose to 38, an alarming number considering about a third of people who become infected are expected to die.

With coronavirus at top of mind this summer, experts are concerned people may not take the right precautions for "Triple E."

“You hear all about coronavirus, having to wear a mask,” said Dr. Brittany Campbell, an entomologist with the National Pest Management Association. “We've been doing social distancing for months now, with a little bit of movement. So, I can understand that everyone is a little bit exhausted from being concerned about their health all of the time. But at this time, I really encourage people to remain diligent.”

This can be done by making a habit of dumping out any standing water in your yard and also protecting yourself by wearing repellent.

And when it comes to how rampant "Triple E" will be this mosquito season, experts aren't exactly sure. It really depends on the temperature, climate and rain specific to each region.

Massachusetts saw a large outbreak last year. The state is now looking at a bill that would have the public health department reduce the mosquito population, as a precaution.