EEE is rare and serious illness transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite and had already killed at least five people in the USA this year - including one case in New Jersey. The hospital has reported to DPH that the patient died as a result of his illness.
The first human case of the deadly mosquito-borne illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been confirmed in Calhoun County.
"We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites", Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH told WHDH Boston.
EEE, which can induce brain swelling, fever, and coma, was last seen in MA from 2004 to 2006 and 2010 through 2012.
The Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources will begin aerial spraying of insecticides over Bristol and Plymouth counties Friday night and continue through the weekend.
The department said EEE is one of the most unsafe, mosquito-borne diseases in the USA, with 33% fatality rate in people who become ill.
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In addition to the MA cases, there are confirmed human cases in MI and Rhode Island so far this year.
There are 35 communities now at critical risk, 40 at high risk, and 128 at moderate risk for the EEE virus in MA.
Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer's directions for use.
Officials urge everyone to continue to reduce the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and trousers when outdoors, removing standing water, cleaning gutters, and installing and repairing window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of buildings. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors. Additional animal cases are under investigation.
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools - especially after heavy rains.