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New Hampshire officials confirmed a third case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus in a human this year. According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), an adult from Manchester who came down with EEE died on September 4 from the illness, making him the third reported case and the second to succumb to the virus.
Officials believe this individual had been exposed to the virus sometime toward the end of August. Due to complicated laboratory testing, results were not available until October 8 after the individual died, confirming that he had in fact suffered the effects of EEE.
Nationally, positive tests for 2014 included two additional humans, one in Alabama and the other in New York. Also infected were one mule, one horse, and 18 batches of mosquitoes. From these batches, just one tested positive for West Nile Virus. In all, 15 EEE cases of EEE have been documented since 2004. Although the West Nile Virus is serious, EEE is a much greater concern primarily because the mortality rate is higher.
Dr. Jose Montero, public health director with the DHHS reminded everyone the importance of taking appropriate steps in preventing mosquito bites until a hard frost. Symptoms of this disease usually show up within 4 to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and include things typically associated with the flu like fever and headache.
Dr. Montero stressed for people to be vigilant, especially during the summer and early fall months when risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as the West Nile Virus and EEE are most prevalent. This includes using insect repellent, wearing appropriate protective clothing, and staying out of environments prone to mosquito populations. He also encouraged people who develop symptoms of the disease not to wait but to get testing done right away.