FREETOWN, Mass. — An elderly Massachusetts man is now the second person to die from the Eastern equine encephalitis – or EEE — virus, WBZ reports.
He’s the tenth person to be diagnosed with EEE in the state.
“It’s on our minds all the time,” said Ryan Pierce, who lives in Freetown.
The Pierce family isn’t taking any chances exposing their two little girls to EEE.
“We’re playing…before dinner as opposed to after dinner,” said Karen Pierce, who lives in Freetown.
Freetown was one of the first communities in the state to shutdown their parks and public spaces from dusk until dawn which are peak biting hours.
“We just made sure to put on the bug spray,” Karen said.
The victim who died is a man in his 70s and the second person to die from EEE this year.
So far, there have been a total of ten human cases.
At ten human cases in a single year, that is the largest number of cases in a given year since the 50s, according to state health officials.
State health officials say larger than normal mosquito populations and a change in the virus are to blame.
The dropping temperatures are making spraying less effective, but it’s still not cold enough to kill off the mosquitoes.
“I feel like waiting for that first frost, so it’ll kill them. So you’ll have some kind of sense of security,” Ryan said.
Three people in Michigan and one in Rhode Island have also died from the virus.