3rd person dies from EEE in Massachusetts, health officials say

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A third person has died from the mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus in Massachusetts this year after being diagnosed last month, state health officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Department of Public Health was recently notified of the death by a hospital, a department spokesperson told

The person, who was not identified, was among the 10 human cases of EEE recorded in Massachusetts this year and was from Hampden County, officials said.

Of those cases, only one was in Hampden County: a person between 71 and 80 years old who was diagnosed on Aug. 16.

The news comes only days after a 78-year-old Freetown man died from the rare virus. James Longworth, a father and grandfather, died on Sept. 19 at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.


Last month, a Fairhaven woman died after contracting the infection.

The Commonwealth is currently experiencing its first EEE outbreak since 2012.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE kills approximately one third of the people who contract it. Symptoms include fever, coma, and brain swelling.

In Rhode Island, officials have confirmed at least three human cases of EEE this year, including a fatal one that took the life of a person from West Warwick earlier this month.

As of Friday, 35 communities across Massachusetts were at critical risk for EEE, 40 were at high risk, and 128 were at moderate risk.

DPH has urged the public to prevent mosquito bites by wearing bug repellent and long-sleeved clothing; repairing broken window and door screens; draining standing water; and staying indoors after dark.