FREETOWN (CBS) – The risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) remains critical in many communities in the wake of a second EEE death.
James Longworth, of Freetown, starting feeling ill last Sunday, collapsing twice before he was rushed to the hospital. He was the 10th confirmed case of EEE in Massachusetts and the second person to die of the disease this year.
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His longtime partner said the 78-year-old was a carpenter who loved doing yard work. That’s where she suspects he may have contracted EEE. His partner said he took all the proper precautions and didn’t appear to have any mosquito bites when he suddenly began to feel sick.
Many communities have canceled outdoor activities from dusk until dawn, and spraying continues in Bristol and Plymouth counties. However, some feel that the risk is just part of life.
One family said they’ve heard the calls to wear mosquito repellent and long sleeves, but believes that there’s no need to panic.
“I personally haven’t touched a can of bug spray all summer,” said Joshua Shusa, of Fall River, who said he’s not worried about EEE. “You can either let it go and live your life, or you can be scared.”
In the meantime, a Sudbury girl who is also battling EEE is now healthy enough to leave the hospital. The family of 5-year-old Sophia Garabedian said she has left Children’s Hospital Boston and moved into a rehab facility.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Garabedian’s family with the medical costs and has raised more than $183,000.
There’s no cure for EEE, and the dropping temperatures make spraying less effective. That’s why state officials are urging people to take their own precautions in preventing mosquito bites.