By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) situation in Connecticut this year, state health officials announced the death of a third person with EEE this year.


A East Haddam resident who died during the third week of September was confirmed today to have had Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This person, who is between 60 and 69 years of age, became ill during the second week of September 2019.

In addition, officials also report that EEE to be the cause of illness for a resident of Colchester who became ill during the third week of August and who remains hospitalized.  This person is between 40 and 49 years of age. This is the fourth case of the year.

“Sadly, this has been an unprecedented year for EEE activity in Connecticut,” said Dr. Matthew Cartter, the DPH State Epidemiologist.  “Before this year we have had only one human case of EEE in Connecticut, and that was in 2013.  ”

“We have had four human cases of EEE, three of which were fatal.  All four were most likely exposed to infected mosquitoes sometime between August 11, 2019 and September 8, 2019, which was the peak period of mosquito activity in Connecticut” said Dr. Cartter.  “All four residents live in a part of eastern Connecticut where EEE activity has not been a problem before this summer.”

States throughout the Northeast are also experiencing an active season for EEE.  In addition to the virus being found in mosquitoes, there have been a total of 12 human cases of EEE infection in Massachusetts, including three fatalities, and three human cases in Rhode Island, including 1 fatality.

Most persons infected with EEE have no apparent illness, however some can be very ill. Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite.  The illness may then progress to disorientation, seizures, or coma.

EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the U.S. About one-third of people with EEE die from the disease and there is significant brain damage in most survivors.  While there is a vaccine for horses, there is no vaccine for people.