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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Michigan health officials amped up their warning about a rare mosquito-borne virus Tuesday, after the state's Department of Health and Human Services confirmed four new cases of Eastern equine encephalitis disease (EEE). Two of the state's seven cases so far this year were fatal.

"Michigan is currently experiencing its worst Eastern equine encephalitis outbreak in more than a decade," Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health said in a statement.

"The ongoing cases reported in humans and animals and the severity of this disease illustrate the importance of taking precautions against mosquito bites."

There are typically about seven cases of EEE reported each year in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with those cases tending to be clustered along the Eastern Seaboard and in the Great Lakes regions.

In addition to Michigan, a handful of states, including New York, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Massachusetts have seen an uptick in cases, bringing this year’s total to 73.

Last year there were only six cases reported nationwide.

EEE is transmitted by mosquitoes, usually in swampy areas where mosquitoes breed, so people who spend time working or participating in outdoor activities are at higher risk for contracting EEE. The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person. Symptoms of EEE include chills, fever, fatigue, and joint and muscle pain, which tend to set in around four to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

About 30% of people who develop the disease will die of the infection and among those who survive, many will experience neurological problems, ranging from seizures to intellectual impairment to personality disorders, according to the CDC.

To avoid being bitten, health officials recommend using mosquito repellent containing DEET and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants while outdoors, as well as emptying standing water around the home to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.

Health officials don’t know exactly what’s causing the uptick, since unlike more prevalent mosquito-borne infections, like West Nile virus, there’s not much research on what causes mosquitoes to carry EEE in a given year, a Michigan health department spokesperson explained.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: September 18, 2019, 10:54 pm

high-number/iStock(ROBBINSDALE, Minn.) -- One doctor has found a foothold with the trendy social media platform TikTok to try and appeal to teens in hopes of discouraging e-cigarette use.

Dr. Rose Marie Leslie, a family medicine resident at the University of Minnesota North Memorial Hospital, has taken a new approach to the app popular among younger users for sharing short videos to make a difference in the wake of recent health warnings.


"There were a lot of adolescents and young adults, millions really, making up the population on this social media platform, but relatively few medical professionals," Leslie told ABC News. "So I really felt like it was a space where I could come in and use the health information that I know."

The soaring popularity of vaping has sparked new concerns over the potential health risks that could come with it after a sixth person died from a vaping-related lung illness.

Dr. Leslie shares information first hand like showing, side by side, x-rays of patients with healthy lungs and patients with a "mysterious disease associated with vaping."

"The response has been quite good," she said. "I have received many messages of people who are asking where they can find links for more information."

While some have hailed her for helping, Leslie has faced some critics.

"Any time when you explain the risks of a habit that's perceived as cool, there will be negative responses," she said. "Despite those experiences, the risks still exist."

"I just continue to give health information, relay what the CDC is putting out in a palatable way, in the space where teens and young adults are," she said.

Police in Wisconsin announced arrests in connection with a drug operation that was filling 3,000 to 5,000 illegal THC vaping cartridges a day for nearly two years at concentrations 157 times the labeled THC potency. It’s still unknown if these cartridges have been linked to any illness.

Leslie said there's still many unknowns with this "mysterious" illness, but shared a few key health tips.

"Women who are pregnant and teenagers should not be using any e-cigarettes or vape materials. People who have any shortness of breath, any chest pain, any fever should go in and seek medical attention," Leslie advised. "Avoid all tampered-with or black-market THC or e-cigarette products."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Author: CJC
Posted: September 18, 2019, 5:48 pm

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