Updated 20 September 2019, 18:48 EDT
At least seven people have died of Eastern equine encephalitis, a rare disease transmitted by mosquitoes. At least 27 people were infected in six states.
These recent deaths were reported in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Massachusetts state health department said that there are currently 75 communities where there is a critical or high risk of the rare but deadly EEE disease.
The mosquito-borne virus causes severe brain inflammation in about 2% of infected adults and 6% of infected children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WEEE is rare and occurs at around five to ten people per year. But this year alone Massachusetts has reported 1
"Nobody really knew what was wrong with him," said Bagent.
Zalner was hospitalized three weeks ago, shortly before his 79th birthday. Tests this week confirmed that he had the virus and is in a coma.
"It's just a small mosquito that can have terrible neurological effects," Bagent said outdoor events in the evening or early morning, peak hours for mosquitoes. Massachusetts officials warn residents to use insect repellent this weekend as the forecast is for unusually warm weather.
Although the condition is rare, the mortality rate is about 30% high, and many who recover continue to have neurological problems. Fortunately, the end of the mosquito season usually comes with the first chill, and that should be just around the corner.
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