Rare case of mosquito-borne illness reported near Tampa

TAMPA — State health officials are warning people to be vigilant about mosquito bites after discovering an extremely rare human case of Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, a mosquito-borne illness that causes inflammation of the brain.

The Florida Department of Health said Monday that an unidentified victim acquired EEE in the northwestern part of Hillsborough County earlier this month and is recovering.

The last human case of locally acquired EEE in Hillsborough was in August 2010.

Eastern equine encephalitis is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. Nationally, between five and 10 cases of the potentially fatal illness are reported each year.

EEE is not contagious among people. It can only be transmitted through a mosquito. Symptoms may include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions and coma.

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