The first case of a human being infected with eastern equine encephalitis this year has been found in the state, John Auerbach, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner, announced at a press conference this afternoon.
A Rhode Island resident in his 20s is in critical condition after being exposed to the virus, Auerbach said at the press conference at University of Massachusetts Medical School's Jamaica Plain campus.
The Newport County resident was most likely infected in one of the southeastern Massachusetts communities designated for aerial mosquito spraying more than a week ago, Auerbach said.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “This gentleman was exposed about a week before the spraying.”
Forty percent of those infected with the EEE virus succumb to the illness, according to Auerbach.
“It’s a deadly illness and causes serious injury in those who survive,” Auerbach said.
Auerbach advised Massachusetts residents to remain vigilant and to wear bug-spray and long-sleeves outside, especially around dawn and dust, when mosquitoes tend to be more prevalent.
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