2nd Person Dies After Contracting EEE in Massachusetts This Year

Human cases have been reported in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and two patients have died

A second person in Massachusetts has died after contracting the EEE virus, state health officials said Friday.

The person, a man in his 70s, lived in Bristol county and was the state's 10th case in this year's outbreak, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He was from the town of Freetown, according to town officials.

The state's second human case of West Nile virus of the year was also announced. And, hours later in Connecticut, the state's first EEE-related death of the year was announced.

Both viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes, and Massachusetts, as well as neighboring states, have been aerially spraying pesticides to tamp down the insect's populations. A EEE-related death was reported in Rhode Island this month as well.

There are 35 Massachusetts communities at critical risk for human EEE transmission and 40 at high risk. See a map of at-risk parts of Massachusetts here.

The virus the insects can transmit affects the nervous system and kills about three in 10 people who contract it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many communities at critical or serious risk of EEE transmission in Massachusetts have curtailed outdoor activities at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, until the first frost hits.

Frosts can seriously diminish mosquito populations, while freezes wipe them out.

But this weekend is expected to be warm, and Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said that people should be vigilant if they go out.

"The unusually warm weather expected this weekend will increase outdoor activity among people and mosquitoes. It is absolutely essential that people take steps to avoid being bitten by a mosquito," she said in a statement.

This is the first outbreak in Massachusetts since 2012. There were 22 human cases in outbreaks from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012.

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