BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – A Weymouth woman is the first human case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in Massachusetts, health officials announced Tuesday.
According to the Mass. Dept. of Public Health, the 85-year-old woman was taken to South Shore Hospital early last week with symptoms such as fever and headache. She died Aug. 16.
On Monday, the Mass. Dept. of Public Health reported mosquitoes collected in Weymouth had tested negative for EEE; however, on Tuesday, officials updated their findings, concluding a Weymouth mosquito pool had tested positive for EEE.
The DPH is conducting an investigation to determine where the woman was exposed to infected mosquitoes. Officials will release an updated assessment of EEE risk areas at the conclusion of the investigation.
Health officials are encouraging residents of Massachusetts to protect themselves against mosquito bites and to limit outdoor activities in at-risk areas.
Schools in Swansea are banning afternoon activities to protect residents.
The first symptoms of EEE are fever (often 103º to 106ºF), stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy. These symptoms show up three to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Inflammation and swelling of the brain, called encephalitis, is the most dangerous and common serious complication.
The disease generally worsens quickly, and some patients may go into a coma within a week.
There were seven cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2012. EEE, which is a serious disease and can cause death, is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Information about EEE and WNV can be found on the MDPH website at http://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.