A man living in Bristol County of Southeastern Massachusetts in his early seventies died from Eastern equine encephalitis. The state dept. of public health announced late this week which brought the total count of deaths from EEE in the commonwealth to 10 as another patient Laurie Sylvia from Massachusetts died in August. There are around 35 communities in the region which are at critical risk of contracting EEE while 40 communities are under high risk of the virus. Early tests by virologists has revealed that EEE virus is now present in 421 mosquito samples of which many spread this virus to humans.
Commissioner of Massachusetts Dept. of Health Dr. Monica Bharel stated that her dept. has urged people to be extra cautious when they step outdoors during the weekend. As the unusually warm weather is forcing people to spend time outdoors they are likely to be exposed to mosquitoes so they should take complete precaution to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Besides using bug spray she urged citizens to reduce skin exposure and stay indoors during twilight and dawn as mosquitoes are most active during these periods. Besides Massachusetts there have been confirmed cases of EEE at Michigan and Rhode Island that had led to four deaths.
Though EEE is a rare disease it is relatively fatal and only 5-10 cases are reported annually around 30 %of cases end in death shows a CDC report. The mosquito borne virus causes brain swelling in humans and has suddenly become active due to warm temperatures and excessive rainfall during July says state epidemiologist Catherine Brown. The virus has been witnessed in chickens in the states of Delaware and Florida though thankfully it has not spread to humans. CDC says that this disease is preceded by fever and chills followed by brain swelling that can lead to seizure and coma.