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Mosquito-Borne Virus EEE Kills Third Person In Connecticut, Another Resident In Hospital For 5 Weeks

EAST HADDAM, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – A third Connecticut resident has died and another is fighting for their life after being infected by the mosquito-borne virus spreading through the Northeast.

Connecticut health officials said on Tuesday that an East Haddam resident died of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in late September.

That victim was reportedly between 60 and 69 years-old and had only become infected a week earlier.

"Sadly, this has been an unprecedented year for EEE activity in Connecticut," said Dr. Matthew Cartter of the state's Department of Public Health.

"Before this year we have had only one human case of EEE in Connecticut, and that was in 2013."

The other patient still fighting EEE is said to be a Colchester resident between 40 and 49 years-old. That patient was reportedly infected in late August and is still hospitalized.

The CDC says that a third of patients infected with EEE die from the brain-infecting virus and there is no human vaccine against the virus.

"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" Dr. Cartter explained.

EEE is rare and serious illness transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite and had already killed at least at least nine people in the U.S. in 2019.

The CDC adds, on average, just seven people contract EEE in the U.S. each year. More than two dozen have been infected in 2019, including multiple cases in New Jersey and Connecticut.

The brain-infecting virus has recently been detected in multiple areas of New York as well.

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