Man with first case of Triple E in Vermont dies
By Cristina Kumka
Staff Writer | September 04,2012
A man with the first case of eastern equine encephalitis in Vermont, contracted through a mosquito bite, died this afternoon, according to Robert Stirewalt, the public relations representative for the Vermont Department of Health.
Department director Dr. Harry Chen said minutes ago at a meeting in Brandon that he was sad to report the news, reitterating that the department declared an imminent health risk in the Brandon area Saturday.
Aerial spraying over swamps and land in two, 4-mile by 4-mile areas will be targeted Thursday night from 8 to 11 p.m. to irradicate populations of a species of mosquito that carry Triple E — one between Cornwall and Whiting on Rt. 30 with the center of the area being Stickney Road and a second between Leicester and Brandon along nearly all of Grove Street.
A second man, from Sudbury, has been hospitalized, health officials confirmed Tuesday night.
Citing privacy laws, Stirewalt could not confirm the name, age, location or any details of the man who died. Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the death.
The man was the first of two people in Vermont to contract the deadly but rare virus, which affects the brain and spinal cord.
Chen said one out of every three EEE patients die and the virus is rare but "disastrous."
From 1964 through 2010, an average of 6 cases were reported annually across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2011, emus in Brandon tested positive for the virus, according to the state Department of Health.
At the meeting Tuesday night, officials said a map of spraying areas will be posted on the Vermont Department of Health's website within 24 hours. The disease reached the states in 2001.
Chen said aerial spraying is more effective to kill mosquito populations in swamps. He said there are largely no human effects.