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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)

Third person dies from the rare mosquito disease EEE, Rhode Island officials report

  • An unidentified patient in his fifties, from West Warwick, Rhode Island, died on Sunday of Eastern Equine Encephalitis
  • The rare disease is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and kills one third of those who fall ill
  • It is the first case of the state since 2010 and the first death from the virus since 2007
  • Two other deaths have been reported this year, in Massachusetts and Michigan
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A resident of Rhode Island died after allegedly contracting the rare mosquito-borne disease Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

The unknown patient, who was in his fifties and lived in West Warwick, died on Sunday according to one release from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

This is the first case of the state of EEA since 2010 and the first death from the virus since 2007.

It also marks the third death in the US this year after cases were reported in Massachusetts and in Michigan.

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The city is booming and in Massachusetts, US senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren have asked for research from the National Institutes of Health on EEE.

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)

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)

When health officials first reported the case on August 30, it was said that the patient was in critical condition.

They died within two days.

Rhode Island health officials say they are currently spraying mosquito treatments in four areas that are considered critical for EEE.

They added them have detected EEE twice in mosquitoes in two cities, Central Falls and Westerly, where a horse was diagnosed with the virus.

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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.

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

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).

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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.

In Michigan there have been at least three confirmed cases, including a death earlier this month, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

And in Massachusetts, seven confirmed cases with one death confirmed with a 59-year-old woman.

Laurie Sylvia was treated for the virus at Tufts Medical Center in Boston when she died in August.

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