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An unidentified patient in his fifties, from West Warwick, Rhode Island, died of Eastern Equine Encephalitis on Sunday in the first state death of the virus since 2007 (file image)

Tenth person in the US dies from the rare mosquito-borne EEE disease, Massachusetts officials report

  • An unidentified man in his 70s & 70s, from Essex County, Massachusetts, died of Eastern horse encephalitis
  • The rare disease is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and kills one third of those who fall ill
  • It is the fourth death of the state this year and brings the national death toll to 10
  • Three deaths were reported in Michigan, two in Connecticut and one on Rhode Island
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A resident of Massachusetts died after allegedly contracting the rare mosquito-borne disease Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), bringing the national death toll to 10.

The unidentified patient was a man in his & # 39; 70 and lived in Essex County, according to one release from the Ministry of Health (DPH) of the state.

He fell ill on September 9, although it is not clear when he died. A local hospital reported the death to state officials.

State health officials also confirmed Massachusetts' eleventh case after the virus was found in another man in his & # 39; 70 from Worcester County.

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An unidentified man in his 70s & 70s, from Essex County, Massachusetts, died of Eastern horse encephalitis. It is the fourth death of the state this year (file image)

An unidentified man in his 70s & 70s, from Essex County, Massachusetts, died of Eastern horse encephalitis. It is the fourth death of the state this year (file image)

This death marks the fourth in the Commonwealth. In addition, three people were killed in Michigan, two in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island.

The growing number of deaths has led to Massachusetts classifying more communities as risk groups for the virus.

There are currently 46 communities considered high risk, 35 communities considered critical risk and 122 with moderate risk.

State health officials have said the 2019 outbreak is the worst in Massachusetts since the 1950s.

Earlier this month, US senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts, requested some research from the National Institutes of Health on EEE.

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EEE is a rare disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.

It was first discovered in Massachusetts in 1831 and usually affects about an equal number of horses and people every year: about five to ten.

There is a vaccine for horses that get the virus, but no people.

The majority of cases occur between late spring and early fall along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states

& # 39; Although the mosquito populations are declining at this time of year, the risk of EEE will persist until the first hard frost & # 39 ;, said Dr. Catherine Brown, a state epidemiologist for Massachusetts, in a statement.

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& # 39; We continue to emphasize that people must protect themselves from mosquito bites. & # 39;

Most people do not develop symptoms, but those who do can experience chills, fever, headache and vomiting.

Occasionally, the disease can cause epileptic seizures or life-threatening brain swelling (encephalitis).

There is no cure and treatments consist of supportive therapy such as respiratory support and IV fluids.

About a third of those with EEE die from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Health officials recommend residents protect themselves by wearing long sleeves and trousers, as well as insect spray when they go outside.

They also recommend removing stagnant water from places such as bird baths and buckets, because mosquitoes are attracted to stagnant water.

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