Scott Mosman, a native of Raynham and graduate from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School succumb to the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) last Friday after catching the virus just a month ago. He is the fifth man to die in Michigan due to this fatal mosquito-borne disease.
EEE is considered one of the most lethal mosquito-borne diseases with a 33% fatality rate and people who survived the disease may end up with mental and physical disabilities. Usually, symptoms become apparent in the fourth to tenth day after contracting the virus. EEE could either be systemic or encephalitic. Symptoms such as fever, chills, malaise, and joint and muscle pain could be seen for people who have systemic EEE, while encephalitic EEE usually shows fever, irritability, restless, vomiting, anorexia, cyanosis, convulsions, and even coma.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, nine other Michiganders have also contracted the deadly disease this year.
Now, 35 communities are considered critical risk; among the communities are Raynham, Norton, Easton, Freetown, Lakeville, Acushnet, and New Bedford. Meanwhile, 53 communities are also placed at high risk such as Taunton, Berkley, Dighton, Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater. Stoughton, Fall River, and Brockton belong to the 121 communities that are considered as moderate risk of incubating the disease.
Raynham already lost one prominent resident, Martin Newfield, 80, after he caught the disease in 2011. Outbreaks of this lethal mosquito-borne disease happens every 1 to 2 decades; it normally lasts 2 to 3 years according to the public health. The last outbreak happened last 2010 which resulted in four fatalities.
Joe Pacheco, Raynham Selectman, stated that the current administration has more initiative on how to deal with EEE. In fact, the Department of Public Health has conducted weekly conferences with the local health board regarding the outbreak of the disease, and aerial spraying of the risk areas has been done to combat the infected mosquitoes.
Aside from aerial spraying, constant clean-up should be done to break the nesting place of mosquitoes. Staying indoors and wearing long sleeve shirts and pants may also help residents avoid contracting the deadly virus.