First 2011 Case of EEE Reported

(NECN) - The Department of Public Health has reported the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis of 2011.

An elderly man from Bristol County has reportedly been diagnosed with EEE. Testing at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute confirmed EEE infection on Friday.

The patient became ill on August 27 and was hospitalized August 29.

"We always hope that there won't be any cases of EEE", said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Alfred DeMaria. "But southeastern Massachusetts is an area that concerns us every year. This tragedy reminds us how important it is to make every effort to avoid mosquitoes and mosquito bites."

There was one case of EEE in a Massachusetts resident in 2010, as well as a Rhode Island resident who was, as the health department explains, probably exposed to the virus in Massachusetts.

The health department urges residents to continue to take precautions against the deadly virus.

"There are multiple things people can do to help protect themselves," said DeMaria. "First of all, avoid outdoor activities at dawn and dusk , and if you cannot avoid the mosquitoes then prevent them from biting with repellent and clothing."

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