Residents on edge after health officials confirm state’s 10th case, second EEE fatality

FRAMINGHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - The second death due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis has Massachusetts residents on edge as they try to enjoy the last warm nights of the season in the midst of the worst EEE outbreak since 2012.

“I’ve never heard of it being as intense as it is this year,” said Framingham resident Becky Kahn. “We’re trying to stay indoors when we can, we just adopted this dog so we’ve been going out at night a little more often and putting on bug spray. [We’re] definitely aware and trying to be careful but still live our lives.”

Framingham is one of 35 communities at critical risk for the disease, with another 40 at high risk. There have been 10 confirmed cases of EEE in Massachusetts this year and many communities have barred using public outdoor spaces at dusk because of concerns over the disease.

Akye Boston, of Framingham, said his high school football games have been rescheduled.

“It kinda sucks having to go in early like that and not get to play under the lights like we usually do,” Boston said.

Earlier this summer, 59-year-old Laurie Sylvia of Fairhaven died after contracting the virus and this week Jim Longworth of Freetown died after contracting the mosquito-borne virus.

Health officials have also confirmed a second case of West Nile Virus in a man from Plymouth.

“We’ve been extremely proactive and what we have been able to do to this point,” said Freetown Health Agent Derek Macedo. “It’s one of those things when you are dealing with nature sometimes you are at nature’s mercy as far as when things are going to end.”

“We know that this virus changes slightly every once in a while down in Florida, not in Massachusetts. and that when one of those new variants is introduced into the state, that tends to trigger one of our outbreak cycles,” said Dr. Catherine Brown, state epidemiologist with the state Department of Public Health.

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