Thursday, 4:30 PM
Middleborough boy with EEE dies
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent, and Kay Lazar, Globe Staff
A 9-year-old Middleborough boy died today who had been hospitalized in critical condition with Eastern equine encephalitis, making him the state’s first fatality this year from the mosquito-borne virus.
John Fontaine collapsed at football practice and was hospitalized on Aug. 20 after he developed a 104 degree fever. He was supposed to start fourth grade on Sept. 6 at Burkland Middle School.
“I’m sorry to say that he passed away today,” said Children's Hospital spokeswoman Christine Powers-Perry, adding that federal privacy laws barred her from providing any more specifics.
Fontaine was the third person this year in the state to contract the EEE virus. Sheila Clark, 52, of Lakeville, had been hospitalized in critical condition. Derek Ashworth, 23, of Acushnet was released from the hospital last week.
In the last four years, four people in the state have been killed by the virus, which can cause inflammation of the brain and lead to a coma and death. The virus kills about one-third of its victims; half who survive suffer permanent neurological damage. No cure exists, and survivors often require lengthy hospitalization.
Fears of the virus in Southeastern Massachusetts earlier this month prompted the first aerial spraying of pesticide to kill mosquitoes in the state in 16 years.
Tonight along the New Hampshire border, the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District plans to use trucks to spray for mosquitoes in Amesbury and Haverhill, according to the agency’s director, Walter Montgomery. Last night crews sprayed Merrimac and Methuen.