FREETOWN – On Friday, Massachusetts state health officials confirmed a second individual has died after contracting the virus known as EEE (Eastern equine encephalitis).
As reported by NECN, the latest death was that of a Bristol County man in his 70s from Freetown. He is the 10th individual this year, per the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, who tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus.
The first death from EEE was reported in August when a Massachusetts woman, Laurie Sylvia, became infected, fell ill and passed away a week after contracting the virus.
In an attempt to control the mosquito population, more than 35 high risk counties all around Massachusetts have been spraying pesticides.
Several Boston neighborhoods were treated late last month with scheduled sprays done in the evening hours throughout neighborhoods and parks.
Dr. Monica Bharel, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, also issued a warning as the warm weather moved in through Boston and other counties over the weekend.
"The unusually warm weather expected this weekend will increase outdoor activity among people and mosquitoes," Dr. Bharel shared.
He added, “It is absolutely essential that people take steps to avoid being bitten by a mosquito."
As reported by CNN, Bharel also shared that individuals should use bug spray to deter mosquitoes and avoid the outside in the evening hours when mosquitoes typically come out.
While Massachusetts now has two reported deaths due to EEE, Michigan has also reported three deaths due to the virus, with one death in Rhode Island. Some victims are still in recovery, with their prognosis uncertain since EEE can present long-term side effects. Before August of this year, there hadn't been a human case of EEE in Massachusetts since 2013.