The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed to Indiana Health Officials that a Hoosier in Elkhart County is the first person in the state to contract eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, a rare virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
The patient died as a result of the infection. This would be the first human case in the state of Indiana since 1998 and only the fourth reported since 1964.
The CDC says approximately 5 to 10 human cases of EEE are reported nationwide each year, typically from late spring through early fall. Nearly one-third of human cases are fatal.
“It’s hard to imagine losing a loved one because of a mosquito bite, but unfortunately, mosquitoes carry diseases that can be life-threatening,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box. “This is a tragic loss for an Indiana family.”
EEE has been found in more than a dozen horses and one mosquito sample in northern Indiana this year. Although mosquito activity decreases with cooler temperatures, the risk of mosquito-borne diseases will not be eliminated until the first hard freeze occurs.