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The threat of mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis has risen in recent years due to volatile weather patterns and vulnerable populations of humans, birds and animals. While in many cases, these diseases cause minor symptoms in patients, for some, the disease can rapidly advance and cause life-long neurological damage, affecting ability to walk, talk, eat, or even breathe. Tragically, coma and even death can occur – and many times, very quickly. Those at particular risk are young children, seniors, those with immunosuppression, either via those taking immunosuppressive medicine or due to a pre-existing medical condition such as many types of cancer or HIV infection. Those that work outside or participate in outdoor activities are also at higher risk because of greater exposure to mosquitoes.
There are currently no vaccines to protect against any of the mosquito-borne viruses except yellow fever.