Malaria alone caused 438,000 deaths worldwide, said a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report. Mosquito-borne diseases have increased manifold since then. Now Rhode Island health officials have said that a person from West Warwick has died after contracting the rare mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. The individual, who has in their 50's passed away on Sunday, reported Boston.
According to a statement issued from the Rhode Island Department of Health, it is the first fatal human EEE case in the state since 2007. Officials had on August 30 announced that the unidentified person had contracted the virus and was in critical condition.
The press release by Health Officials further states that two mosquito detections of EEE have occurred in Central Falls and two have occurred in Westerly. A horse was also diagnosed with EEE in Westerly. In addition, several EEE cases and positive mosquitoes have been detected in Connecticut and Massachusetts, some in areas that border Rhode Island.
Notably, in Massachusetts, officials found the virus in seven people this year, including a Fairhaven woman who died after contracting EEE last month.
In a separate incident, health officials also revealed that a Michigan patient, who contracted EEE, too passed away from the disease. Michigan's Health and Community Services Department had further announced that three cases of EEE have been confirmed, on Friday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of EEE begin with the sudden onset of headaches, high fever, chills and vomiting about four to ten days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The illness can progress into disorientation, seizures and coma, according to CDC.
The most effective way to prevent infection from Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, according to CDC, is to prevent mosquito bites. Since mosquitoes bite during the day and night, CDC urges the use of insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, treating clothing and gear, and taking steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors, as means of protection against mosquito bites.