ORANGE CITY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - There are new concerns over eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), as two human cases have been reported in Central Florida.
The Volusia County Health Department announced its first human case of eastern equine encephalitis in 15 years. Now, the son of another person, who fell victim to the mosquitoes causing this serious disease, is speaking only to FOX 35.
Generous, considerate, independent. Brian Casey describes his mother as any mother would want their song to describe them.
“Just the nicest person that anyone could ever want to meet,” said Brian Casey, who lives in Sanford.
But she is now mostly unresponsive and has been for two months.
“It just shut down a lot of the bodily functions,” said Casey.
Two weeks and dozens of tests after Debbie Casey was rushed to the hospital, doctors diagnosed her with EEE or eastern equine encephalitis. It’s a disease usually found in horses that comes from a mosquito bite.
“They live in birds and water fowl in these marshy areas and it takes a mosquito to transfer it from the bird to humans or horses,” said dermatologist Dr. J. Matthew Knight.
Dr. Knight says it usually takes four to seven days for flu-like symptoms to appear. Then symptoms can get worse, turning into confusion, stumbling and seizures before becoming completely unresponsive.
“What’s happening is the brain is swelling and the body starts to have symptoms consistent with that.”
“It's just not real. It's hard to feel like you're living in reality,” said Casey.
Brian Casey is now raising money online to help with medical bills, as his mother is transferred to her third hospital in two months. Doctors tell him it could be six months to a year before she’s back to her normal self or “back to whatever normal’s going to be.”
To protect yourself, health officials say drain standing water around your home, cover your doors and windows with screens and cover yourself with clothing or bug spray with DEET.