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

Health officials in Massachusetts have confirmed a third person has died in the state after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, a rare mosquito-borne illness.

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said Monday that a hospital recently notified officials of a third person in the state who died from EEE. The unidentified person is one of 10 people who have been diagnosed with the disease in Massachusetts.

Officials have not released the person's name or said where he or she lives. It was not immediately clear when the person was infected. It typically takes three to 10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito for people to see symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, the family of Freetown man Jim Longworth, identified him as the second person this year to die from EEE in Massachusetts.

A Fairhaven woman in her 50s died in August. At least two other EEE-related deaths have been reported in recent weeks in Rhode Island and Michigan.

Three dozen cities and towns across Massachusetts are at critical risk for the disease and 40 are at high risk,  according to state health officials. Many communities are taking extra precautions, including canceling outdoor sports practices and activities just before dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. State officials have also been applying pesticides with aerial spraying across many of the areas considered critical and high risk.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several cases of EEE are reported each year, most often in states along the Gulf Coast. The mosquito-borne virus is rare but serious and can affect people of all ages, Massachusetts health officials said.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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