Third person dies from the rare mosquito-borne disease EEE, Rhode Island officials report
- An unidentified patient in their 50s, from West Warwick, Rhode Island, died on Sunday from Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- The rare disease is transferred by infected mosquito and kills one-third of those who fall ill
- It’s the state’s first case since 2010 and the first death from the virus since 2007
- Two other deaths have been reported this year, in Massachusetts and Michigan
A Rhode Island resident has died after reportedly contracting the rare mosquito-borne disease Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
The unidentified patient, who was in their 50s and lived in West Warwick, died on Sunday, according to a release from the Rhode Island Department of Health.
This is the state’s first case of EEE since 2010 and the first death from the virus since 2007.
It also marks the third death in the US this year after cases were reported in Massachusetts and in Michigan.
Town are expansively spraying and, in Massachusetts, US Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren have requested any research the National Institutes of Health has on EEE.
An unidentified patient in their 50s, from West Warwick, Rhode Island, died on Sunday from Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the state’s first death from the virus since 2007 (file image)
When health officials first reported the case on August 30, the patient was said to be in critical condition.
Within two days, they had died.
Rhode Island health officials say they are currently spraying mosquito treatments in four areas deemed to be at critical risk for EEE.
They added they have detected EEE twice in mosquitoes in two towns, Central Falls and Westerly, where a horse was diagnosed with the virus.
EEE is a rare disease caused by a virus that is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.
It was first detected in Massachusetts in 1831 and typically affects about an equal number of horses and humans every year: about five to 10.
The majority of cases occur between late spring through early fall along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states
Most people don’t develop symptoms, but those who do can experience chills, a fever, a headache and vomiting.
Occasionally, the disease can cause seizures or life-threatening brain swelling (encephalitis).
There is no cure and treatments consists of supportive therapy such as respiratory support and IV fluids.
About one-third of those with EEE die from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Michigan, there have been at least three confirmed cases, including one death earlier this month, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
And in Massachusetts, there have been seven confirmed cases with one death confirmed in a 59-year-old woman.
Laurie Sylvia was being treated for the virus at Tufts Medical Center in Boston when she passed away in August.