A third person has a confirmed case of eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, in Massachusetts this summer, health authorities said Friday.
A man over 60 years old in northern Franklin County has the rare but potentially deadly virus, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement. The risk level is now critical in two Franklin County communities, Heath and Colran.
Two more communities in Worcester County had their risk levels raised to critical as well — Mendon and Uxbridge — after two horses tested positive for EEE there.
The virus is spread by mosquitoes, and communities across the state have been sprayed to control their populations this summer.
The EEE-prevention spray zone for Worcester and Middlesex counties is being expanded due to the additional communities with elevated risk, now including parts or all of Blackstone, Douglas, Dudley, Holliston, Hopedale, Mendon, Millville, Oxford, Uxbridge and Webster, health officials said.
The state hadn't seen a human case before those since 2013.