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Third death from EEE confirmed; official calls situation in Connecticut unprecedented

Third death from EEE confirmed; official calls situation in Connecticut unprecedented

Connecticut public health officials say a third person has died of Eastern equine encephalitis.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Cartter announced Tuesday the East Haddam resident died during the third week of September. It was confirmed Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the unnamed resident had tested positive for the rare mosquito-borne illness.

The victim was between 60-69 years old.

The CDC also confirmed Tuesday that a resident of Colchester who became ill during the third week of August tested positive for the virus. That person, who is between the ages of 40 and 49 years, remains hospitalized. Cartter says the number of human cases in Connecticut has been unprecedented.

Mosquitoes examined in 16 communities have so far tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis.

In Cheshire, officials with the Chesprocott Health District reported a mosquito trapped in nearby Bethany was among those positive tests. Town officials, at the urging of local health officials, have restricted all outdoor activities, including school district-sponsored and other organized activities, on town-owned property after 5:30 p.m. “until further notice to minimize risk of exposure,” read a news release issued Tuesday.

In Meriden, the city’s Department of Health and Human Services reported on Tuesday that mosquitoes so far trapped and tested in the city have not tested positive for either EEE or West Nile Virus.

The Wallingford Health Department issued a similar announcement that tests of mosquitoes trapped at the town’s trapping site on South Elm Street have so far been negative for both viruses.

While Meriden, Wallingford and Southington have not restricted outdoor activities on public grounds in those communities, health officials are urging residents to take precautions against mosquito exposure, including the application of mosquito repellant spray on any potentially exposed skin before heading outdoors.

In a news release issued late last week, the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District urged residents to avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, and urged residents, when outdoors, to wear long pants and shirts with long sleeves.

PSHAD Health Director Shane Lockwood, in a statement, said though mosquito activity usually begins to decline at this time of year, “residents still need to remain vigilant in removing standing water on their property and practicing prevention measures.”