(WWJ) A Michigan family is reaching out for support for a 14-year-old girl they say is fighting a rare and dangerous virus.
Savanah Dehart is in serious condition at Kalamazoo's Bronson Hospital with eastern equine encephalitis, commonly known as Triple E or EEE, which is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes.
The teen is one of four Michiganders -- all from Kalamazoo and Berrien counties -- believed to have the disease, which kills 33% of those who fall ill, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The three others are adults, health officials say, and all of them are hospitalized.
According to Facebook pages in support of Dehart, she and her family have been through a roller coaster of tests, different diagnosis, heartbreaks and tribulations over the last week and-a-half.
At the emergency room, tests found severe swelling and inflammation of her brain.
She was put on a feeding tube and ventilator to keep her alive while doctors treat her illness.
Her mom posted this update Thursday: "I know we ask everyday and without hesitation you all do, but please say some extra prayers for our girl today, tonight and tomorrow as they are going to try to take her ventilator out again tomorrow. We want her to be successful and we know she can be, we just need your help!"
Along with prayers, Dehart's family is seeking financial support.
"Savanah is a very special young girl. She is very talented, she loves to sing, listen to music, draw, write and be super creative. She enjoys spending time with her family and loves just being around people. She has a pure heart and loves to help others in anyway she can and she has a drive to succeed in whatever she wants to do," her mother wrote. "Most of all she is most definitely a fighter and she is so proving that to us right now."
Those who wish to donate may do so via a Facebook fundraiser at THIS LINK.
As of Aug. 26, six cases of EEE have been confirmed in horses in Barry, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties. All of the horses, which had not been vaccinated against EEE, have died.
Michigan health officials tell WWJ that mosquitoes carrying EEE are typically found in wooded or swampy areas.
"Not everybody who is bitten by a mosquito with this virus gets sick, but those that do there is a about 33% fatality rate," said Lynn Sutfin of the MDHHS. "And those who do recover typically have brain damage."