SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has confirmed a fourth human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), but this is the first case that resulted in the person dying.
According to public health officials, your risk of EEE is higher in Massachusetts because the state has the perfect type of habitats that attract mosquitos carrying the EEE virus.
The Dept. of Public Health said a woman over 50 in Bristol County died on Sunday after becoming infected by EEE. A Franklin County man in his 60’s became infected with EEE last week. That is the only case in western Massachusetts so far.
Massachusetts has a large number of swamps, lakes, and ponds, which are ideal settings for mosquitos.
Louise Cardellina, a physician’s assistant at AFC Urgent Care told 22News, “It’s mainly along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf area and Massachusetts is one of the higher reported cases. Even though there are not that many cases, it’s still concerning because it can be deadly.”
Cardellina added that you should use bug spray and wear long sleeves pants, and socks when you’re outside.
EEE symptoms range from nausea and muscle aches to more severe symptoms like swelling and inflammation of the brain.
If you think you might have EEE, you should seek emergency care immediately. You’ll be at risk of contracting EEE until the first hard frost.