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Equine encephalitis is the mosquito-transmitted viral encephalitis that affects horses and humans.
Eastern equine encephalitis also infects birds that live in freshwater swamps of the eastern U.S. seaboard and along the Gulf Coast. In humans, symptoms are seen 4-10 days following transmission and include sudden fever, general flu-like muscle pains, and headache of increasing severity, followed by coma and death in severe cases. About half of infected patients die from the disorder. Fewer than 10 human cases are seen annually in the United States.
Western equine encephalitis is seen in farming areas in the western and central plains states. Symptoms begin 5-10 days following infection. Children, particularly those under 12 months of age, are affected more severely than adults and may have permanent neurologic damage. Death occurs in about 3 percent of cases.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. www.ninds.nih.gov