RAYNHAM (CBS/AP) – The elderly man who was diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis last week has died.
Eighty-year-old Martin Newfield of Raynham died Monday, according to his family.
He is the only person to have been diagnosed with EEE in Massachusetts this year.
Newfield became ill on August 27 and was hospitalized on August 29.
According to the Taunton Gazette, Newfield was a businessman who was recognized as the town’s Citizen of the Year in 2003.
He was on the town’s Board of Appeals and was a well-known youth football official.
His family says the state should have sprayed chemicals to kill mosquitoes in the area.
He is survived by his wife, four children, four stepchildren and 13 grandchildren.
On Friday, State Epidemiologist Dr. Alfred DeMaria warned that the threat of EEE could loom for several more weeks.
“We always hope that there won’t be any cases of EEE”, Dr. DeMaria said after Newfield’s diagnosis. “But southeastern Massachusetts is an area that concerns us every year. This tragedy reminds us how important it is to make every effort to avoid mosquitoes and mosquito bites.”
Bristol and Plymouth Counties have been a hot zone for mosquitoes carrying the viruses.
The Middleboro Fair opened Friday night, and the news was on the mind of organizers. Fair managers were handing out citronella patches even though they have been taking precautions all week.
Mosquito crews hit the fairgrounds repeatedly over the last week.
WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports from Middleboro
There was one case of EEE in a Massachusetts resident in 2010 as well as a Rhode Island resident who was probably exposed to the virus in Massachusetts.
EEE is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Early symptoms include headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.
EEE is a dangerous disease that can prove deadly.
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