BOSTON (CBS) – A Massachusetts man who contracted EEE has died. Health officials say the man in his 70s was admitted to the hospital in early August and died several days later.
The EEE diagnosis was not confirmed until an autopsy was completed.
The man was a resident of the Metrowest area of Worcester County. It is believed that he was exposed to EEE during the first week of August.
In a statement, Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach said, “His illness and death underscore the extremely serious nature of EEE and the need for continued vigilance and preventive measures against mosquito-borne diseases.”
This is the first confirmed death from EEE in a Massachusetts resident this year. It is the second human case of EEE in the state this year.
In the town of Northbridge in Worcester County, spraying was already scheduled at school grounds and several fields because a mosquito tested positive for West Nile Virus. Residents attending an outdoor concert said the news of the death of the unidentified victim from Eastern Equine Encephalitis is both sad and unsettling.
“Obviously you don’t want to hear about it anywhere, but when it’s so close to home it is definitely concerning. It’s the environment we live in and we have to be as cautious as we can be,” said Kim Poudrier who sprayed herself and her family before heading outside.
Susan Federico, also attending the outdoor event said using insect repellent has become routine. “You don’t want to not go out on a beautiful summer night. So hopefully we’ll be protected,” she said.
The Northbridge fields had plenty of walkers and runners well past dusk, as state health officials warned that summer may be winding down but mosquitoes are still plentiful.
It’s why Linda Ricard made sure she was outside with pants and sleeves. “I’m very concerned, I live right near that mucky water,” she said referring to a nearby river. “I wish they would spray or do something.”
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.