SW Michigan teen in recovery after EEE infection

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PORTAGE, Mich. (WNDU) - A teen from Portage, Michigan, is continuing to fight for survival in her battle with Eastern equine encephalitis, known as EEE.

On Aug. 16, Kerri Dooley noticed her 14-year-old daughter wasn't feeling well. Savanah Dehart had a severe headache and was acting dazed and lethargic.

She was eventually taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. At some point, Savanah needed a ventilator to help her breathe.

Nine days later, her illness was diagnosed as EEE.

"Those symptoms – the headache, the stiff neck, the high fever – show up about three to 10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito," said Dr. Douglas Henry, who is treating Savanah. "… The virus attacks different areas of the brain and different areas in different people, but it attacks those areas and causes damage much like a stroke or a head injury."

After weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit, Savanah was stable enough to be transferred to a Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, where she continues to recover from the rare deadly virus.